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Australia shares erase losses, helped by solid material prices; NZ down
September 5, 2017 / 7:07 AM / 21 days ago

Australia shares erase losses, helped by solid material prices; NZ down

(Updates to close)

Sept 5 (Reuters) - Australian shares ended marginally higher on Tuesday as strong commodity prices pushed up material stocks higher while financial stocks erased early losses.

The S&P/ASX 200 index closed 0.1 percent, or 4.19 points, higher at 5,706.20.

The benchmark fell 0.4 percent Monday.

The metals and mining index rose 0.6 percent, supported by copper prices, which climbed to three-year highs, and nickel prices, which touched a two-year peak.

Most material stocks finished higher, with BHP Billiton ending 0.5 percent up to A$27.62, its highest close in more than seven months.

Major miners Newcrest Mining Ltd, Rio Tinto both rose 0.7 percent and copper miner OZ Minerals Ltd gained 1.1 percent.

Financial stocks recovered from losses incurred early after a class action lawsuit against Commonwealth Bank of Australia over a money-laundering scandal knocked the market heavyweight and others in that sector lower.

The financial index was flat at close of trade.

Power producer AGL Energy Ltd was the worst performer on the index on Tuesday, closing 1.5 percent down. week.

Australia’s central bank left its cash rate at 1.5 percent on Tuesday and data from the Australian Bureau of Statistics showed that the current account deficit widened in the first quarter.

New Zealand’s benchmark S&P/NZX 50 index was down d 0.4 percent, or 30.82 points, to 7,777.4 at the close.

Losses were concentrated in the industrial and healthcare sectors, while telecommunication and information technology shares gained.

Auckland Airport shed 2.1 percent down to its lowest closing price in almost eight months while Spark New Zealand Ltd finished 1.3 percent higher. (Reporting by Chandini Monnappa in Bengaluru; Editing by Richard Borsuk)

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