Dec 14 Australian shares bounced on Wednesday,
swept up by record highs on Wall Street as investors continued
to lap up a global reflation rally and looked ahead to the
outcome of the U.S. Federal Reserve's rate-setting meeting later
in the day.
While the Fed is all but certain to hike rates by a quarter
percentage point to between 0.50 and 0.75 percent, the focus is
on what it signals for the coming quarters following Republican
Donald Trump's surprise election win last month.
Expectations Trump will boost fiscal spending and lift U.S.
growth have fuelled a global reflation rally over the past
month, with the recent deal by world oil producers to cut output
adding to the momentum.
The S&P/ASX 200 index saw broad-based gains, rising
0.8 percent, or 42.75 points, to 5,587.8 by 0131 GMT.
The benchmark had snapped five straight days of gains in the
previous session, falling 0.3 percent.
M&A activity added some spark to consumer stocks, which got
a lift from massive gains in APN Outdoor Group and
Tatts Group shares, up 8.5 percent and 8 percent
While APN Outdoor revealed plans to buy-out rival oOh!Media
Ltd, lottery operator Tatts Group received an A$7.3
billion ($5.46 billion) takeover offer from a consortium
advised by Macquarie Group.
Financial stocks in the U.S. and at home have made the most
of the recent rally as they are seen as a natural hedge against
The 'Big Four' Australian banks, which serve as a yard stick
for the sector's performance, rose over 1 percent each.
Elsewhere, solid gains were seen in utilities.
Electricity producer and provider AGL Energy rose
1.2 percent, while natural gas infrastructure business APA Group
added 2.2 percent.
"It is interesting to note that some of the interest rate
exposed sectors are doing the best," said Michael McCarthy,
chief market strategist at CMC Markets.
"Healthcare stocks, which have been under sustained
pressure, are also leading."
The healthcare index rose 0.9 percent driven by a
CSL Ltd rising 1.6 percent.
Basic materials were weighed down by overnight falls in
copper and base metals prices.
Miners BHP Billiton and Rio Tinto were 0.4
percent and 0.2 percent lower respectively.
New Zealand's benchmark S&P/NZX 50 index fell 0.3
percent, or 22.99 points, to 6,827.22, in what could be its
fourth straight session of losses.
Entertainment firm SKY Network Television, which
lowered its full-year guidance, was the biggest loser on the
index, down 8 percent.
($1 = 1.3358 Australian dollars)
(Reporting by Rushil Dutta; Adittional reporting by Suhail
Hassan Bhat in Bengaluru; Editing by Shri Navaratnam)