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Australian shares rise tracking Wall Street; NZ up marginally
December 1, 2017 / 6:00 AM / 11 days ago

Australian shares rise tracking Wall Street; NZ up marginally

(Updates to close)

Dec 1 (Reuters) - Australian shares rose on Friday, riding Wall Street’s euphoria over improved prospects for big tax cuts, with the energy and healthcare sectors adding over 1 percent.

Australia‘s, the S&P/ASX 200 index rose 0.3 percent or 19.908 points to 5989.8 at the close of trade.

The S&P 500 closed at a record high and the Dow Jones Industrial Average broke above the 24,000 mark for the first time on Thursday.

The Aussie benchmark rose 0.1 percent over the week, its fourth week of gains in five.

The energy index was up 1.7 percent as oil futures rose after OPEC and other major producers agreed to extend their production curbs.

Energy majors Woodside Petroleum Ltd and Caltex gained 1.2 percent and 2.8 percent, respectively.

”Positive sentiment is driving everything. We have had a bit of a bounce on the banks who got smoked yesterday on royal commission worries.

“People want to buy exposure, so they’re buying the banks. Pretty much all the sectors are doing well. We are running good global sentiment,” said Mathan Somasundaram, market portfolio strategist at Blue Ocean Equities.

The Australian government gave into political pressure and instituted a royal commission with wide powers to investigate the financial sector - especially the ‘Big Four’ banks.

Financials, the benchmark’s dominant sector, rose marginally as losses in shares of Commonwealth Bank of Australia, which fell 0.3 percent, capped gains on the financial index

The healthcare index was up 1.3 percent with CSL Ltd and Sonic Healthcare leading the advances, adding 1.6 percent and 1.4 percent respectively.

Materials stocks performed well despite Chinese iron ore futures pulling back after eight days of gains.

Mining giant BHP and packaging company Amcor Ltd gained 1 percent and 2 percent respectively.

In New Zealand, the benchmark S&P/NZX 50 index rose marginally by 2.01 points, after hitting a record earlier, to finish the session at 8188.83.

New Zealand’s terms of trade hit a record high in the third quarter, pointing to a brighter outlook for a key growth driver at a time when the rest of the economy is encountering headwinds.

Gains in Industrials and utilities sector were offset by consumer and energy sector.

Index heavyweight Auckland International Airport rose 1.1 percent, while dairy products maker a2 Milk Company was the biggest drag on the benchmark, falling 1.7 percent.

Reporting by Sumeet Gaikwad in Bengaluru; Editing by Eric Meijer

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