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Australia shares steady after holds rates; NZ slides
February 7, 2017 / 5:25 AM / 9 months ago

Australia shares steady after holds rates; NZ slides

(Updates to close)

Feb 7 (Reuters) - Australian shares trod water on Tuesday, with losses in the financial sector offsetting gains in materials and industrials, after the country’s central bank held rates steady at its first policy meeting of the year.

The S&P/ASX 200 index edged up 0.1 percent, or 6.3 points to 5,621.9 at the close of trade.

The Australian central bank kept rates at a record low of 1.5 percent for a seventh straight month, having lowered rates in August and May last year.

The “big four” Australian banks fell 0.3 percent to 0.8 percent, after the S&P 500 Financials Index closed 0.4 percent lower overnight.

At the other end, toll roads operator Transurban Group rose as much as 6.9 percent, posting its biggest intraday percentage gain in more than seven years, after recording a 42 percent jump in first-half profit.

The gold index climbed as much as 4.4 percent to hit a 12-week high, after the bullion price jumped 1 percent on Monday to its highest in nearly three months.

Newcrest Mining Ltd rose 3.3 percent, ending higher for a seventh-straight session in what is its longest streak of gains this year.

New Zealand’s benchmark S&P/NZX 50 index fell 0.4 percent, or 27.33 points, to finish the session at 7,067.05.

The country’s near-term inflation expectations rose in the first quarter, a central bank survey showed.

Consumer discretionary and healthcare stocks were the biggest drag on the index.

Trade Me Group fell 4.1 percent while gaming company Skycity Entertainment closed 3.5 percent lower.

Reporting by Shashwat Pradhan in Bengaluru; Editing by Simon Cameron-Moore

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