January 23, 2018 / 1:18 AM / 9 months ago

Australia shares recover on broad-based gains; NZ down

* Australian shares up 0.8 percent

* All sectors up, tracking Wall Street higher

* New Zealand on track to snap two days of gains

By Sandhya Sampath

Jan 23 (Reuters) - Australian shares were on course to snap a five-day losing streak on Tuesday, with a broad-based rally across sectors, after Wall Street hit records as U.S. lawmakers struck a deal to end the federal government shutdown.

U.S. stocks advanced overnight as each of Wall Street’s main indexes scored records after senators agreed to lift a three-day government shutdown and end a fight between Democrats and Republicans over immigration and border security.

“It is primarily the U.S. markets that have continued to push higher and following that, our markets are snapping up the losing streak,” said Christopher Conway, head of research and trading at Australian Stock Report.

“I think the bigger question is whether the markets can stay at these levels,” Conway added.

The S&P/ASX 200 index rose as much as 0.8 percent to 6,037.5, its biggest intraday percentage gain in over 2-weeks. The benchmark fell 0.2 percent on Monday.

Energy stocks gained as much as 1.7 percent riding on stronger global oil prices. Whitehaven Coal was among the biggest boosts to the index, climbing 5 percent.

Papua New Guinea-focused Oil Search Ltd climbed as much as 1 percent after reporting a 12.6 percent rise in fourth-quarter revenue and posting production of 7.59 million barrels of oil equivalent.

“The production numbers were in line with expectations and compared to the previous periods, they were certainly moving in the right direction,” said Conway.

Australian healthcare stocks got a boost as the medical equipment maker ResMed Inc hit record high after reporting quarterly revenue of $601.3 million, a 13 percent rise compared with the same period last year.

The financial index added to the cheer, rising as much as 0.8 percent, with Australia and New Zealand Banking Group Ltd jumping 1.5 percent to its best day in over a month.

The other “big-four” banks gained in the range of 0.7 percent to 1.2 percent.

Meanwhile, QBE Insurance Group fell as much as 6 percent to its lowest in over 3-months after Australia’s biggest insurer said it expected to report a full-year after-tax loss of about $1.2 billion, hurt by impairment charges in its North American operations.

Strong iron ore and base-metal prices lent support to material stocks, which gained as much as 0.6 percent.

New Zealand’s benchmark S&P/NZX 50 index fell 0.2 percent or 13.3 points to 8,322.06. The index is on track to snap two straight days of gains.

Telecom stocks and consumer cyclicals were among the top losers, with Spark New Zealand Ltd marking its sharpest fall in over 2-months.

Reporting by Sandhya Sampath in Bengaluru; Editing by Sam Holmes

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