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Nov 22 (Reuters) - Australian shares climbed on Wednesday as rising oil and iron ore prices boosted the energy and material sector, with overall sentiment buoyed by a rally in global equities on the back of strong world growth.
The S&P/ASX 200 index closed up 0.4 percent or 22.879 points, to 5,986.4, with nine of the exchange’s 10 sectors trading positively. The metals and mining sector jumped 1 percent, with mining heavyweights BHP Billiton and Rio Tinto advancing 1.4 percent and 0.9 percent, respectively.
Those gains were spurred in part by Chinese steel futures rising for a third straight session on Wednesday, supported by leaner supply and expectations that consumption in the world’s top user would recover when production cuts are lifted after winter.
Oil prices rose as ongoing cuts of piped Canadian crude to the United States added to falling U.S. crude inventories, while expectations of a prolonged OPEC-led production cut also offered support.
The energy sector was the best performer on the benchmark, with Origin Energy Ltd rising 2 percent, hitting a near 2-week high.
Elsewhere, biotherapeutics developer CSL Ltd added 1 percent, capping a fourth straight session of gains.
On the negative ledger, three of the ‘Big four’ banks fell between 0.3 percent to 0.4 percent, with Commonwealth Bank of Australia bucking the falls to gain 0.6 percent.
New Zealand’s benchmark S&P/NZX 50 index inched up 0.2 percent or 16.51 points to finish the session at 8,104.990.
Gains in consumer staples slightly offset losses in healthcare stocks. Respiratory device maker Fisher & Paykel Healthcare Corporation Ltd remained a drag on the index for a second straight day, tumbling 4.9 percent, as investors appeared to take profits after the company reported a 4 percent rise in half year earnings.
Dairy farm operator A2 Milk Company Ltd topped the gains on the index, jumping 5.2 percent and extending gains to a second straight session following a robust earnings result for the four months to October.
Reporting by Syed Saif Hussain Naqvi in Bengaluru; Editing by Shri Navaratnam