Jan 12 Materials, energy and financials lifted
Australian shares on Thursday after a weakened U.S. dollar drove
up oil prices by the most in more than a month.
The S&P/ASX 200 index gained 0.3 percent or 20
points to 5,791 by 0115 GMT. The benchmark closed 0.2 percent
higher on Wednesday.
"The reason that the Australian market is higher is because
of its commodities exposures, another gain for gold and a very
strong gain for oil are two of the key features supporting the
market today," said Michael McCarthy, chief market strategist at
Oil prices jumped more than 2.5 percent on Wednesday
following two straight sessions of losses after the dollar fell
on disappointment with President-elect Donald Trump's media
conference, and on news that Saudi Arabia trimmed supplies to
some Asian buyers.
Oil and gas giant Woodside Petroleum was up as much
as 1.5 percent to its highest in 15 months while Santos Ltd
gained 1.2 percent.
After Trump's much-anticipated news briefing failed to
provide clarity on expected stimulus plans, the dollar fell
sharply to one-month lows, pushing gold to a seven-week high on
"It's a very unpredictable time, once again markets were
disappointed by the lack of detail around stimulus plans in last
night's press conference McCarthy.
Gold miner Northern Star Resources Ltd rose 0.5
percent, extending gains into a third day.
Sentiment was also boosted by Chinese steel and iron ore
futures gaining for a third session on Wednesday and hitting
their highest level in three weeks.
Global miner Rio Tinto climbed as much as 1.7
percent to its highest since December 12, while BHP Billiton
gained 1.3 percent, extending gains into a second day.
The metals and mining index rose as much as 1.3
percent, hitting its highest since September 19, 2014.
Financials was up with the "Big Four" banks gaining between
0.2 percent and 0.5 percent.
Qantas Airways Ltd was among the biggest gainers in
the index, rising as much as 5 percent to hit a 4-month high.
Bucking the trend, healthcare sector declined after U.S.
Trump said pharmaceutical companies were "getting away with
murder" in the prices they charged the government for
Australia's biggest pharmaceuticals company by market cap
CSL Ltd slid as much 1.6 percent, posting its biggest
intraday percentage loss in a month.
Organic baby formula maker Bellamy's Australia Ltd
was the biggest loser on the benchmark, falling 15.5 percent
after it cut its revenue forecast and appointed a temporary new
New Zealand's benchmark S&P/NZX 50 index declined
0.3 percent or 18.5 points to 7,069, ending a three-session run
Telecommunications was the biggest drag on the index with
Spark New Zealand Ltd shedding as much as 2.8 percent
to post its biggest intraday percentage loss since December 9,
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(Reporting by Sindhu Chandrasekaran; Additional reporting by
Geo Tharappel in Bengaluru; Editing by Eric Meijer)