May 10, 2018 / 6:45 AM / 15 days ago

Australia shares end up on oil rally; NZ at record high

* Australian shares gain for 4 straight sessions

* New Zealand posts best winning streak since Dec. 2017 (Updates to close)

May 10 (Reuters) - Australian shares ended at a more than three-month high on Thursday, boosted by energy and mining companies as rising commodity prices led to increased interest in material stocks.

The S&P/ASX 200 index rose 0.18 percent, or 10.7 points, to 6,118.7 at the close of trade. The benchmark was up 0.26 percent on Wednesday.

Metal miners were the biggest contributors to the benchmark, with BHP ending 1.7 percent higher. The stock pushed up the benchmark about 6.7 points.

Copper prices surged on lower inventories, while zinc prices also ticked up.

Energy stocks largely benefitted from oil prices, which hit multi-year highs as traders adjusted to the prospects of renewed U.S. sanctions against major crude exporter Iran amid an already tight market.

Woodside Petroleum was among the biggest boosts to the benchmark, ending 5.1 percent higher.

On the other hand, teleco Telstra Corp served as the biggest drag on the index. The stock lost about 2.5 percent after local media reported that rival TPG Telecom Ltd planned to offer highly competitive mobile data plans.

Qantas Airways ended about 2.4 percent lower on rising oil prices. The company is vulnerable to spikes in oil prices due to its dependence on jet fuel, which is refined from crude.

New Zealand shares ended at a record high, marking seven straight sessions of gains as telecommunication and consumer staples stocks rose.

The country’s central bank maintained its official cash rate on Thursday, saying inflation remained below its target despite robust economic growth in the country.

New Zealand’s benchmark S&P/NZX 50 index ended 0.2 percent, or 17.89 points, higher to finish the session at 8,637.72.

Teleco Spark New Zealand was the biggest boost to the benchmark, ending about 1.6 percent higher, while index heavyweight a2 Milk Co ended about 0.9 percent up.

Reporting by Ambar Warrick in Bengaluru Editing by Jacqueline Wong

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