November 7, 2018 / 5:55 AM / 9 months ago

CORRECTED-Aussie shares rise in muted trade ahead of U.S. elections; NZ up (Nov 6)

(Corrects second paragraph to say S&P/ASX 200 index fell 0.5 percent on Monday, not Friday))

* Materials push Aussie shares higher

* Australian shares clock lowest volumes since early-Oct

Nov 6 (Reuters) - Australian shares ended higher on Tuesday as metals and mining heavyweights rose on higher iron ore prices, although trading volumes were cautious ahead of the U.S. mid-term elections.

The S&P/ASX 200 index rose nearly 1 percent, or 57.1 points to 5875.20 at the close of trade. The benchmark had fallen 0.5 percent on Monday.

Australian shares saw their lowest trading volumes in one month ahead of the U.S. elections. The lead-up to the Reserve Bank of Australia’s benchmark rate decision had also kept volumes subdued earlier. The bank stood pat on its rate, as expected.

Mining giants BHP and Rio Tinto led the index, ending 1.3 percent and 2.1 percent higher respectively. Iron ore prices were boosted on concerns over tighter supply after BHP suspended its Western Australia iron ore rail operations due to an accident.

Iron ore miner Fortescue Metals Group ended nearly 1 percent higher.

Sentiment toward miners was also improved after China promised to shore up imports, as China is a major buyer of Australian minerals.

Energy stocks ended 1.6 percent higher after an overnight gain in oil prices eased some of the downward pressure faced by stocks. Oil and gas explorers Woodside Petroleum and Oil Search gained 1.7 percent and 2.1 percent respectively.

Financial stocks also ended higher, with all four of the country’s major banks gaining more than 1 percent. Commonwealth Bank of Australia gained 1.4 percent for the day after it said its joint bid to buy Property Exchange Australia Limited has been accepted by a majority of the firm’s shareholders.

New Zealand’s benchmark S&P/NZX 50 index rose 0.4 percent or 37.64 points to finish the session at 8816.42, as consumer and industrial stocks gained.

A2 Milk gained about 3.5 pct, while Fletcher Building ended 1.5 percent higher. (Reporting by Ambar Warrick in Bengaluru; Editing by Simon Cameron-Moore)

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