December 29, 2016 / 5:47 AM / 9 months ago

REFILE-Australia shares recover losses to end higher; NZ up

(Corrects RIC in paragraph 4.)

Dec 29 (Reuters) - Australian shares ended higher on Thursday, recovering some of the losses incurred earlier in the day, buoyed by a rise in gold prices as the U.S. dollar weakened, helping basic material stocks.

The S&P/ASX 200 index ended the session up 0.25 percent, or 14.01 points, at 5,669.1.

Basic materials stocks were boosted by the U.S. dollar sagging against the yen on Thursday as U.S. yields slipped to two-week lows after weaker-than-expected U.S. pending home sales data and a robust debt auction.

Rio Tinto climbed more than 1 percent to its highest in two weeks while BHP Billiton rose 0.24 percent.

Gold prices rose on Thursday as the U.S. dollar slipped versus its index basket of currencies.

The Australian benchmark gold index rose 3.35 percent to its highest in over two weeks with gold miners Newcrest Mining and Evolution Mining and Northern Star Resources gaining between 3 percent and 7 percent.

The financial sector in Australia was flat, with the losses in property sector and tracking U.S. peers, offsetting gains by the “Big Four” banks.

Dexus Property Group lost 3.34 percent while Westpac Banking Corp and Commonwealth Bank of Australia recovered earlier losses to end up 0.3 and 0.2 percent respectively.

New Zealand’s benchmark S&P/NZX 50 index closed 0.24 percent, or 16.5 points higher at 6,892.28.

The index was driven by gains in A2 milk and Air New Zealand, each rising over 2 percent while Ryman Healthcare gained 1.5 percent.

Reporting by Susan Mathew in Bengaluru; Editing by Eric Meijer

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