August 14, 2019 / 7:20 AM / 6 days ago

Australia shares rise on Trump tariff move, higher iron ore prices

(Updates to close)

By Nikhil Nainan

Aug 14 (Reuters) - Australian shares climbed to a one-week high on Wednesday, first due to President Donald Trump’s delay of tariffs on some Chinese imports and then firmer iron ore prices that lifted mining stocks even further.

The U.S. announcement overshadowed unexpectedly weak July data from China that pointed to a further loss of economic momentum.

The S&P/ASX 200 index closed 0.4% higher, rising 27.4 points to 6,595.9. On Tuesday, the benchmark fell 0.3%, snapping a four-day winning streak.

Biotech giant CSL Ltd provided some of Wednesday’s gains, after the index heavyweight reported a record profit that raised its shares 6.6% to an all-time high of A$234.0.

Some analysts hope Trump’s selective three-month delay of tariffs will dial down U.S.-China friction, but most investors don’t believe tensions will subside for long. A Morgan Stanley note on the decision said “extra time & talks are modest positives but don’t change the structural incentives for tensions.”

Shares of iron ore miners, who have recently come under pressure from softer prices for the steelmaking material, jumped on Wednesday as futures edged higher.

The biggest gainer was Fortescue Metals Group, which closed 4.7% higher. Mining giants BHP Group and Rio Tinto also climbed.

Goldman Sachs, in a note earlier this week, said the iron ore market was still tight and prices will have to rise.

Australian miners are particularly exposed to the Sino-U.S. trade war as China is Australia’s largest trading partner.

Containing Wednesday’s gains was the largest lender, Commonwealth Bank of Australia, which slumped 3.6% lower as it traded ex-dividend.

Gold stocks were also in the red as prices slipped amid the easing of U.S.-China trade tensions.

In New Zealand, the benchmark S&P/NZX 50 index edged 0.1% lower to 10,849.76.

Utilities investor Infratil slid 2.4%, while dairy products maker Fonterra ended 1.9% lower. (Reporting by Nikhil Kurian Nainan in Bengaluru; Editing by Richard Borsuk)

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