November 12, 2018 / 6:07 AM / a month ago

Energy stocks boost Australian shares; NZ also rises

* Robust global oil price helps Aussie energy stocks

* Healthscope Ltd closes at over 5-month high

* Consumer and healthcare stocks boost NZ (Updates to close)

By Shriya Ramakrishnan

Nov 12 (Reuters) - Energy stocks helped Australia’s benchmark share index reverse course to end higher on Monday as oil prices jumped after Saudi Arabia announced a supply cut.

Markets had faltered in early trade on worries about slowing global growth and as investors squared positions ahead of a slew of economic data later this week.

The S&P/ASX 200 index closed up 0.3 percent or 19.5 points at 5,941.3 points, a more-than-three-week high. The benchmark fell 0.1 percent on Friday.

Energy stocks were among the top gainers, rising nearly 2 percent at one point before paring some gains.

Top gainers were Beach Energy Ltd, Whitehaven Coal Ltd and Oil Search Ltd, which rose between 1.8 percent and 3.3 percent.

Oil prices rose by about 1 percent after top exporter Saudi Arabia announced plans to reduce oil supply by 0.5 million barrels per day in December.

“We are seeing a stabilization and a bit of rebalancing ahead of a very busy week for data,” said Michael McCarthy, chief market strategist at CMC Markets.

This week will see major data releases from the United States, China, Japan and Germany among other larger economies.

“It is no surprise that we are seeing a fairly cautious approach to trading and it does look like we seeing a short term trend in equity markets, with the strength that we are seeing in Australia and the region today,” McCarthy said.

Metals and mining stocks, closed 0.2 percent higher. Shares of Rio Tinto rose 1.7 percent, after the global miner announced the completion of its A$2.87 billion ($2.07 billion) buy-back.

Buoyant benchmark London copper prices and aluminium prices also cheered the miners.

Aussie healthcare stocks also climbed over 1 percent for a fourth straight session.

Shares of hospital operator Healthscope Ltd gained 14.4 percent to close at an over 5-month high, after receiving a sweetened $3.3 billion takeover proposal from Brookfield Capital Partners.

Meanwhile, financial stocks fell 0.3 percent, with sector heavyweight Australia and New Zealand Banking Group losing 3 percent, as it traded ex-dividend.

New Zealand’s benchmark S&P/NZX 50 index gained 0.3 percent to finish at 8,956.85, boosted by consumer and healthcare stocks.

Subscription television provider Sky Network Television Ltd and retirement home operator Metlifecare Ltd closed 3.8 percent and 2.2 percent higher, respectively.

$1 = 1.3841 Australian dollars Reporting by Shriya Ramakrishnan in Bengaluru; Editing by Kim Coghill

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