April 2, 2019 / 1:13 AM / 3 months ago

Australian, NZ shares push higher as global growth worries ease

* Miners, energy stocks, financials lead gains

* Fortescue hits over 10-year high

* NZ shares hit record high

By Aby Jose Koilparambil

April 2 (Reuters) - Australian shares tracked Wall Street gains on Tuesday, with commodity-based firms and financials leading the rally, as easing concerns about global growth lifted investor sentiment for a second consecutive session.

The S&P/ASX 200 index rose 0.7 percent to 6,262.80, a more than three-week high, by 0012 GMT. The benchmark had gained 0.6 percent in the previous session.

Wall Street rallied on Monday as upbeat factory activity data in China and United States coupled with progress in trade talks between the world’s top two economies cheered investors.

“China data was significant as it showed one of the important growth engines is still working. The U.S. markets have taken the positives out of a mixed data and Asian markets would be stronger across the board today,” said Damian Rooney, director of equity sales at Argonaut. China’s iron ore futures hit a 7-week-high, partly helped by tight supply concerns. Big players BHP Group Ltd and Rio Tinto Ltd have flagged a fall in their full year iron ore production after tropical cyclone Veronica hit operations in Western Australia.

Iron ore prices are expected to rise further after the world’s largest miner of the commodity Vale SA said it failed to obtain stability certificates for 13 dams under review following the dam mishap in Brazil in January.

BHP rose as much as 0.9 percent to a near eight-year high while Rio Tinto gained 0.6 percent to its highest level since July, 2008.

Fortescue Metals Group rose 4.7 percent to a more than 10-year peak after the world’s fourth largest iron ore miner earlier said its mining operations were unaffected by the cyclone.

Oil climbed about 2 percent to new 2019 highs on Monday. Oil services firm WorleyParsons Ltd put on 2.8 percent while gas producer Oil Search Ltd gained 1.8 percent.

The Big Four banks gained in the range between 0.7 percent and 1.2 percent.

Gold stocks dropped up to 1.4 percent as the higher risk appetite dented the appeal of the safe-haven metal.

Investors await the Reserve Bank of Australia’s policy meeting announcement later in the day and will be looking for signals for an rate cut this year. Also later on Tuesday, Australia’s government presents its last annual budget ahead of the federal elections in May.

Across the Tasman Sea, New Zealand’s benchmark S&P/NZX 50 index tacked on 0.6 percent, or 56.46 points, to a record high of 9,910.37 with dairy firms Fonterra and a2 Milk Co Ltd gaining more than 2 percent each.

Reporting by Aby Jose Koilparambil in Bengaluru; Editing by Sam Holmes

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