November 22, 2018 / 6:14 AM / a month ago

Australia, NZ shares end higher; global growth worries persist

* Financials and miners boost benchmark

* Healthcare stocks close at over 1 week high

* Lithium miner Mineral Resources top gainer after JV offer

* NZ benchmark snaps seven straight sessions of losses (Updates to close)

Nov 22 (Reuters) - Australian shares closed higher on Thursday as oil prices recovered overnight and the U.S. S&P 500 bounced from the previous session’s steep sell-off, although global growth worries lurked in the background.

Broader Asian shares ticked up after the S&P 500 inched higher on gains in energy and technology sectors, though worries over corporate earnings growth reaching a peak and the Sino-U.S. trade war kept investors on edge.

The S&P/ASX 200 index snapped four straight losing sessions to rise by 0.86 percent or 48.50 points to 5,691.30 at the close of trade. The benchmark fell 0.5 percent on Wednesday.

Miners climbed 0.7 percent to recover some of the previous session’s steep losses after iron ore prices gained over 2 percent.

Global miner BHP firmed 0.6 percent, while Fortescue Metals Group Ltd rose 1 percent.

Lithium miner Mineral Resources was the top gainer on the benchmark, surging 26.6 percent after Albemarle Corp , the world’s top lithium producer, agreed to pay $1.15 billion to form a lithium joint venture with the company.

Financial stocks also underpinned the gains, with top lender Commonwealth Bank of Australia up 0.8 percent and National Australia Bank Ltd putting on 0.9 percent.

Healthcare stocks rose 2.7 percent to their highest in more than a week. Sector heavyweight CSL Ltd rose 3.4 percent, while Cochlear Ltd was up 2.9 percent.

Energy stocks tacked on 0.9 percent, recovering from a battering in the previous session as investors took heart from an overnight recovery in oil prices.

Oil prices rose on Wednesday after U.S. government data showed robust demand for refined fuel, however sentiment was tempered by concerns over rising global crude supply.

New Zealand’s benchmark S&P/NZX 50 index broke seven consecutive sessions of losses to rise 0.36 percent or 30.76 points to finish the session at 8,703.16.

Dairy firm a2 Milk Company Ltd jumped 5 percent while Synlait Milk rose 3.5 percent. (Reporting by Rashmi Ashok in Bengaluru, editing by Eric Meijer)

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