Sept 11 (Reuters) - Australian shares were higher on Monday, as investors looked to buy into sectors with better yield prospects, looking past the global unrest caused by North Korea’s nuclear test last week as well as allegations of a breach in money laundering rules against Commonwealth Bank of Australia .
Commonwealth Bank, which has been under the scrutiny of regulators after it was accused of “serious and systemic” breaches of money-laundering rules, fell as much as 0.4 percent.
North Korean tensions eased slightly as the country’s leader Kim Jong Un decided to hold a celebration over the weekend rather than launch another missile.
The country did, however, warn the United States that it would pay a “due price” for spearheading a U.N. Security Council resolution against its latest nuclear test.
The S&P/ASX 200 index, which fell nearly 1 percent last week and has incurred losses in the past four months, gained 0.6 percent or 36.483 points to 5,709.1 by 0231 GMT on Monday.
“We’ve been underperforming for a while now, so there is a bit of catch-up,” said Damien Hennessy of Heuristic Investment Systems.
“There has been a lot of negativity around banks, and I guess from time to time, there is some provided opportunities for investors to have another look at what would be considered fairly substantial yield in the market. Financials are yield attractive.”
Providing a boost to the sector top investment bank Macquarie Group said it expects its first-half net profit to be higher than the same period last year as it recognises improved performance fees in the six-month period.
Meanwhile, commodity prices fell dragging down commodity stocks that capped gains on the index.
Chinese iron ore futures fell to their weakest level in almost a month on Monday, while nickel led an across-the-board decline in Chinese base metals futures.
Mining giants BHP Billiton Ltd and Rio Tinto Ltd fell as much as 2.8 percent and 2.6 percent, respectively.
Gold producer Newcrest Mining Ltd slipped as much as 3.2 percent after gold prices dropped early on Monday after hitting its highest level in over a year in the previous session.
New Zealand’s benchmark S&P/NZX 50 index rose 0.07 percent or 5.63 points to 7,857.16
Consumer staple and health care stocks led the gains on the index with A2 Milk Company Ltd and Fisher & Paykel Healthcare Corporation Ltd both hitting an all-time high.
The medical device maker’s stock is on track to post its ninth consecutive day of gains.
For more individual stocks activity click on (Reporting by Nicole Pinto additional reporting by Chandini Monnappa in Bengaluru; Editing by Jacqueline Wong)