Australian shares rose for a fourth consecutive session on
Friday helped by record highs on Wall Street, and after
Australia's central bank slashed its near-term forecast for
economic growth but remained upbeat on the long-term outlook.
The Reserve Bank of Australia's quarterly monetary policy
statement took an upbeat tone on the global economy, noting top
trading partner China was growing surprisingly fast.
The S&P/ASX 200 index saw broad-based gains, rising
0.8 percent, or 43.485 points, to 5708.10 by 0110 GMT.
Wall Street three main indexes surged to fresh record highs
on Thursday after President Donald Trump said he would make a
major tax announcement in a few weeks. Investors have been
waiting for details on Trump's campaign trail pledges.
"It [Trump's policy] is like a Christmas present that can't
be unwrapped for a couple of weeks. No one quite knows what it
is in terms of Donald Trump and his promises of big tax breaks,"
said Ben LeBrun, a market analyst with Optionsxpress.
The financial index tracked its U.S. peer higher
gaining 1 percent, with the "Big Four" banks gaining between
ANZ gained as much as 1.5 percent, its highest in a
Consumer stocks also gained, with retailer Wesfarmers
pushing up the sector by adding 1.4 percent.
Materials also supported the benchmark index, as iron ore
futures in China gained further on Thursday, rising for six of
eight sessions, with values underpinned by signs of strong
demand in world's top steel consumer China.
Mining giant BHP Billiton rose 1.8 percent even
though workers at the Escondida copper mine in Chile, the
world's largest, walked off the job on Thursday in a strike that
threatens to disrupt international supply.
"We’ve known about the threat of the strike for some weeks
now. So it's been priced in and it's only in one division," Le
Miner Rio Tinto gained 0.4 percent, while Fortescue
Metals Group added 1.1 percent.
The energy index rose as much as 1.9 percent, its
highest since Feb 3 on higher oil prices.
The biggest gainer on the enegry index Beach Energy Limited
gained 2.1 percent, while Woodside Petroleum Ltd
added 0.6 percent.
New Zealand's benchmark S&P/NZX 50 index was up 0.1
percent, or 4.65 points, in its second straight session of
gains, at 7125.70.
The gains were led by financials and utilities stocks with
NZ-listed ANZ stocks posting the biggest gain on the
index, up 2.3 percent.
Contact Energy Ltd pushed up the utilities sector
by gaining 0.6 percent.
(Reporting by Sandhya Sampath in Bengaluru; Additional
Reporting by Ambar Warrick in Bengaluru)