(Updates to close)
Dec 12 Australian shares ended Monday flat with
an upside bias, after hitting their highest in four months in
early trading, underpinned by oil and gas stocks.
The energy index jumped to its highest since Oct.
12, 2015, after oil prices rose to the highest in a year and a
half high on Monday, after OPEC and non-OPEC producers agreed to
cut oil output.
Majors Oil Search and Woodside Energy both
rose more than 3 percent.
The S&P/ASX 200 index ended 2.2 points or 0.04
percent higher at 5560.6, its highest close since Aug 1, after
surrendering some early session gains as investors turned their
attention to an interest rate hike expected from the Federal
Open Market Committee meeting this week.
Financials added gains, with three of the "Big Four" banks
up. ANZ Bank ended 0.3 percent lower.
Exchange operator ASX Ltd shed 0.2 percent, while
Seven West Media rose 0.7 percent to its highest in two
Large cap grocer Woolworths slipped 0.3 percent.
Its rival, Wesfarmers Ltd, ended in positive territory.
New Zealand's benchmark S&P/NZX 50 index slipped
0.25 percent or 17.26 points, to finish the session at 6876.04,
hurt by consumer staples.
A2 Milk was the biggest loser on the index, ending
the session down 5 percent.
But Fonterra Co-Op, the world's biggest dairy
exporter, however, gained 0.17 percent after it confirmed a
forecast farmgate price of NZ$6 per kilogram.
(Reporting by Aparajita Saxena in Bengaluru; Editing by Eric