September 18, 2017 / 7:02 AM / in a month

Australia shares close higher; NZ inches down

(Updates to close)

Sept 18 (Reuters) - Australian shares snapped three consecutive sessions of losses to finish higher on Monday, tracking Wall Street’s all-time highs recorded on Friday.

The S&P/ASX 200 index rose 0.5 percent, or 25.577 points to 5,720.6 at the close of trade. The benchmark fell 0.8 percent on Friday.

Financial stocks outperformed other sectors on the index, with the “Big Four” banks rising between 0.5 and 1.1 percent.

For markets, the main event will be the Fed’s meeting on Tuesday and Wednesday, where it is likely to take another step toward policy normalisation amid what is rapidly becoming a global trend.

Material stocks managed to post marginal gains for the day, with heavyweights BHP Billiton and Rio Tinto 0.7 percent and 0.2 percent, respectively.

Energy stocks gained on firm oil prices, with Oil Search Ltd , Santos Ltd and WorleyParsons LTd gaining in the range of 1.5 percent to about 4 percent.

WorleyParsons was the second biggest gainer on the main index after APN Outdoor Group which gained 4 percent.

New Zealand’s benchmark S&P/NZX 50 index closed 0.1 percent or 3.95 points down to finish the session at 7758.71, marking its fifth straight declining session.

Fisher & Paykel Healthcare Corporation Ltd was the top loser on the index, falling 4.4 percent.

Reporting by Christina Martin in Bengaluru

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