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Australian shares reverse losses as higher oil, metals prices lift miners; NZ up
May 10, 2017 / 6:35 AM / 6 months ago

Australian shares reverse losses as higher oil, metals prices lift miners; NZ up

(Updates to close)

May 10 (Reuters) - Australian shares ended higher on Wednesday, reversing some of the losses made earlier in the day, after rising oil prices lifted mining giant BHP Billiton, while an uptick in base metals and gold supported stocks in those sectors.

The S&P/ASX 200 index rose 0.6 percent, or 35.5 points, to 5,875.4 at the close of trade.

Gains on the index were driven by BHP Billiton, which advanced 1.6 percent after oil futures rose in Asian trading following a Reuters report on Saudi Arabia cutting supplies to the region.

Among other miners, Rio Tinto Ltd and Fortescue Metals Group climbed 2.1 percent and 5.1 percent respectively after Shanghai steel futures rose for a third straight day on Wednesday, supported by worries over tighter supply.

Newcrest Mining and Northern Star Resources rose 1.9 percent and 4.1 percent respectively after gold prices edged up from an eight-week low.

The financial index added on 0.2 percent as investors pondered a new levy imposed on Australia’s biggest banks by the government in its budget proposals unveiled late on Tuesday.

“I think there is a little bit of technical buying in there... People have moved past yesterday’s lows and are increasing their exposure towards the banking sector,” said Chris Weston, an institutional dealer at IG Markets.

New Zealand’s benchmark S&P/NZX 50 index edged up 0.2 percent, or 12.08 points to finish the session at 7,424.2.

The consumer staples sector led the gains after news Zealand’s electronic retail card spending rose 1.1 percent in April, while overall sales rose 4.5 percent from the same month a year ago.

Heartland Bank was the biggest gainer on the index, advancing 3.4 percent to hit a record closing high. (Reporting by Shashwat Pradhan in Bengaluru; Editing by Eric Meijer)

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