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3 years ago
Australia shares rise on hopes of Europe stimulus, resources gain reprieve
January 22, 2015 / 2:11 AM / 3 years ago

Australia shares rise on hopes of Europe stimulus, resources gain reprieve

* Europe expected to unveil QE plan

* Resources benefit from commodities rebound

* Canada rate cut adds to speculation of similar move in Australia (Adds analysis, quotes, stocks on the move)

SYDNEY/WELLINGTON, Jan 22 (Reuters) - Australian shares rose for a second session on Thursday as investors wagered the European Central Bank will unveil a stimulus package later in the day, while a rebound in oil and copper prices shored up the resources sector.

A shock interest rate cut in Canada, which stoked speculation that the Reserve Bank of Australia may cut interest rates later in 2015 underpinned a sunny mood, while investors also cheered well-received production reports from mining giants BHP Billiton and Rio Tinto.

The S&P/ASX 200 index rose 33.9 points or 0.6 percent to 5427.3 by 0143 GMT.

"Expectations are that they're going to act," said Quay Securities head of trading Tristan K'Nell, referring to the European Central Bank.

"It's a bit of a positive sentiment after we had a lot of uncertainty to start the year."

The ECB was poised to announce later on Thursday a plan to print money to buy 50 billion euros in bonds per month from March, in a move seen as likely to inject momentum into the global economy.

BHP rose 3 percent and Rio Tinto added 2.3 percent, rebounding after months of declines amid slumping iron ore prices. Iron ore miner Arrium leapt 17 percent as investors took advantage of its sluggish share price to increase their stakes.

Among energy players, Woodside Petroleum gained 4 percent, Santos added 2.3 percent and Origin Energy rose 2.4 percent after oil price gained 2 percent overnight.

Banks also firmed, with Westpac Banking Corp up 1.3 percent while National Australia Bank and Australia and New Zealand Banking Group both rising 0.8 percent.

Recruiter Skilled Group slipped 4 percent after it rejected a takeover offer from rival Programmed. Packaging firm Amcor dropped 4 percent after its CEO retired.

New Zealand shares were in record territory with the benchmark NZX-50 index hitting a lifetime high in early trading before trimming its gains to be up 0.1 percent at 5,680.88.

Market bellwether Fletcher Building was 0.5 percent lower after the previous session's 5 percent gain.

A sharp fall in the exchange rate helped exporter stocks or those with significant offshore interests like Fisher and Paykel Healthcare, up 1.4 percent.

The country's biggest listed retailer The Warehouse rose 5.2 percent as substantial shareholder James Pascoe Ltd, which operates jewellery shops and a rival department store chain, said it upped its stake to 7.4 percent from 6.3 percent. (Reporting by Byron Kaye and Gyles Beckford; Editing by Shri Navaratnam)

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