August 29, 2018 / 6:59 AM / a month ago

Australian shares lifted by financials, reopened NZ closes at record high

* NZ has best day in 7 months, one day after glitches halted trade

* Australia’s ‘Big Four’ banks see strong gains

* Gold stocks hurt as risk appetites return (Updates to close)

By Nikhil Nainan

Aug 29 (Reuters) - Australian shares rose again on Wednesday, supported by financial stocks, while New Zealand’s benchmark index had its biggest gain in seven months and ended at a record high the day after system glitches halted trading.

The S&P/ASX 200 index rose 0.8 percent to 6,352.2 at the close. The benchmark added 0.6 percent on Tuesday.

The financial sector surged 1.8 percent on Wednesday, with the so-called ‘Big Four’ banks propelling smaller peers, following optimism global trade tensions could ease.

Westpac Banking Corp, Australia and New Zealand Banking and Commonwealth Bank of Australia climbed between 2.1 percent to 2.7 percent. National Australia Bank advanced 1.8 percent.

“The financial sector has felt the most pressure over the last four weeks or so, particularly when the market has been weak. Now ironically, that puts them back in a position where some might consider them good value,” said Michael McCarthy, chief strategist at CMC Markets and Stockbroking.

Gold prices recovered slightly after Tuesday’s sharp fall, but not enough to pull investors back into gold stocks. Signs of recovery in the U.S. dollar adds to woes for the precious metal.

Among the sector’s top losers were Resolute Mining, down 4.2 percent, and St Barbara, which dropped 2.9 percent.

Boral Ltd jumped over 10 percent after the building-products maker reported a higher annual profit and forecast a 20 percent or more rise in core earnings from its North American division in fiscal 2019.

New Zealand’s benchmark S&P/NZX 50 index closed at a record high of 9,362.67 after climbing 1.6 percent, the biggest one-day advance since Jan. 31. Investors made up for a day largely without trading on Thursday, due to a series of glitches.

Index heavyweights a2 Milk Company and Fletcher Building were the biggest boosts, closing 4.4 percent and 3.5 percent higher, respectively.

Synlait Milk, in which a2 Milk holds a nearly 18 percent stake, was the biggest gainer, up 5.2 percent. (Reporting by Nikhil Kurian Nainan in Bengaluru; Editing by Richard Borsuk)

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