November 22, 2018 / 1:38 AM / 24 days ago

Australia, NZ shares bounce from recent sell-offs; mood still cautious

* Aussie shares rise in line with Wall Street

* Healthcare up about 2.2 percent

* NZ shares snap 7 straight sessions of declines

By Niyati Shetty

Nov 22 (Reuters) - Australian shares advanced on Thursday as investors tentatively stepped back into the market thanks to overnight strength on Wall Street, with metals and energy sectors recovering some of their recent losses.

U.S. shares rose on gains as energy and technology shares bounced from a steep sell-off, though traders overall were cautious amid worries about a peak in corporate earnings growth and a slowdown in the global economy.

The S&P/ASX 200 index rose 0.7 percent or 40 points to 5,682.8 by 0101 GMT, on course to snap a four-session losing streak. The benchmark shed 0.5 percent on Wednesday.

Investor sentiment was also soothed after Moody’s said modest earnings growth in 2019 would benefit Australian corporates.

The metals and mining index gained 1.1 percent as base metal prices rose on a softer dollar and higher equities. The sector lost nearly 3 percent in the previous session.

Sector heavyweights BHP and Rio Tinto Ltd advanced 1 percent and 0.6 percent, respectively.

Mining infrastructure services provider Mineral Resources Ltd surged nearly 33 percent after saying it would sell a 50 percent stake in its lithium project to Albemarle Corp for $1.15 billion.

The energy sub-index added 0.6 percent after touching an eight-month low on Wednesday, as oil prices gained after U.S. government data showed strong demand for refined fuel.

Oil & gas explorer Woodside Petroleum Ltd added 0.8 percent and Oil Search Ltd rose 0.2 percent.

Financial shares were also higher, with three of the “Big Four” banks trading in positive territory. The sector has been under heavily selling pressure this year on revelations of misdeeds among major players, with a slowdown in growth further hurting demand.

Commonwealth Bank of Australia rose 0.6 percent, while Australia and New Zealand Banking Group was up 1 percent.

In the healthcare sector, drugmaker CSL Ltd was 2.4 percent up and medical equipment maker and hospital operator Ramsay Health Care Ltd advanced 0.6 percent.

New Zealand’s benchmark S&P/NZX 50 index steadied after seven straight sessions of declines, rising 0.5 percent or 42.55 points to 8,714.95.

a2 Milk jumped 7 percent and Synlait Milk Ltd gained 4.7 percent.

Reporting by Niyati Shetty in Bengaluru Editing by Shri Navaratnam

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