May 16, 2018 / 6:47 AM / a year ago

Australia shares end higher on banks, miners; A2 Milk weighs on NZ

* BHP biggest boost on Aussie benchmark

* Myer shares up 16 percent

* A2 Milk’s NZ shares close 13.7 percent lower (Updates to close)

May 16 (Reuters) - Australian shares posted modest gains on Wednesday supported by bank stocks and miners, while New Zealand shares fell to their lowest in over a week as a2 Milk shares weighed.

The S&P/ASX 200 index rose 0.2 percent, or 9.2 points, to 6,107, adding to gains of 0.6 percent on Tuesday.

BHP was the biggest boost to the index, advancing 1.4 percent as iron ore, oil and copper prices rose.

Westpac Banking’s 0.7 percent rise followed.

Whitehaven Coal was the best performer on the benchmark, surging 7 percent.

On the ASX All Ordinaries index, department store chain Myer Holdings was among top two percentage gainers, up 16 percent, despite posting a fall in third-quarter sales.

Mathan Somasundaram, market portfolio strategist at Blue Ocean Equities, said considering expectations from Myer were low, its assets and value of business along with the recent cold weather in Sydney supported the stock.

Shares of a2 Milk Company, listed on both Australia and New Zealand stock exchanges, were the biggest drags on both benchmark indexes, diving as much as 20 percent before closing 13.7 percent lower in New Zealand.

The company’s revenue forecast for the year of more than a 63 percent rise failed to meet bullish investor expectations.

Synlait Milk Ltd, which has infant formula supply agreements with a2 Milk, closed 4.2 percent lower.

New Zealand’s benchmark S&P/NZX 50 index closed 1.8 percent or 153.27 points lower at 8,555.51, in its biggest one-day drop since February.

Fletcher Building’s 1.1 percent fall also hurt the index. The company said on Wednesday it would temporarily pay more interest on its borrowings and use funds from a share sale to repay debt in a deal with its lenders aimed at fixing breaches in debt covenants. (Reporting by Susan Mathew in Bengaluru; additional reporting by Shanima A; Editing by Kim Coghill)

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