(Updates to close)
MELBOURNE, March 17 (Reuters) - Australian shares rose nearly 1 percent on Thursday, after the U.S. Federal Reserve signalled it would raise rates more slowly than expected this year, which helped drive up gold, metals and oil prices.
The S&P/ASX 200 index rose 49.17 points to 5,168.20 at the close of trade.
The mining and energy sectors were the top gainers, up 2.3 percent and 2.8 percent respectively.
New Zealand’s benchmark S&P/NZX 50 index rose 0.2 percent, or 10.49 points, to finish the session at 6,573.45. (Reporting by Sonali Paul; Editing by Shri Navaratnam)