October 29, 2018 / 1:12 AM / 20 days ago

Australia shares rise as beaten-down firms bounce; NZ flat

* Healthcare sector up as much as 3.25 pct

* All major sector indexes gain

* Lynas up on Malaysian permit extension

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By Aby Jose Koilparambil

Oct 29 (Reuters) - Australian shares rose on Monday, posting its best intra-day gain in nearly two weeks led by gains for all major sectors, as investors bought into firms that took a hammering during the recent sell-off in global markets.

The S&P/ASX 200 index gained 0.8 percent or 44 points to 5,709.30 by 0037 GMT, having closed marginally up on Friday.

The gains for the benchmark, however, come after losses in five of the last six sessions. And with an 8 percent decline in October so far, it is well on track to post the weakest monthly performance for the year.

The domestic market has been swept up in a global sell-off of equities, pressured by worries about global growth as confident was hit by numerous factors including Sino-U.S. trade tensions, rising U.S. yields, Italian budget woes, impasse over Brexit talks and mixed U.S. corporate earnings.

In morning trade, the ASX healthcare index rose as much as 3.25 percent, its biggest intraday percentage gain in more than two months. Index heavyweight CSL Ltd gained 4.8 percent.

“It is a bounce but it is nothing that is going to sustain. The volumes for some of the large-cap stocks are very light,” said James McGlew, executive director of corporate stock broking at Argonaut.

Recent selling in the healthcare stocks has been overdone, added McGlew. They have fallen over 8 percent in September and has so far have lost more than 9 percent in October.

Financial and mining stocks were also up, with the Metals and Mining index advancing 1.3 percent, its best intra-day gain in nearly two weeks.

McGlew expects some caution to creep in over the next few days, especially on the financial sector.

Investors are set to remain on the sidelines with two of the country’s ‘Big Four’ lenders - Australia and New Zealand Banking Group and National Australia Bank - scheduled to report full-year results this week, amid intense scrutiny by an ongoing quasi judicial inquiry into wrongdoing in the sector.

ANZ and NAB were up 0.2 percent and 0.3 percent, respectively.

Australian rare earths miner Lynas Corp was the top percentage gainer on the benchmark after it was granted an extension to a temporary permit to store residue at its Malaysian site, sending its shares up more than 8 percent.

Across the Tasman Sea, New Zealand’s benchmark S&P/NZX 50 index barely budged, down a touch by 0.01 percent to 8,567.67.

Payment solutions provider Pushpay Holdings was the top percentage loser, shedding as much as 5.7 percent, while gains were led by New Zealand-listed stock of lender Westpac Banking Corp, which rose about 2 percent.

Reporting by Aby Jose Koilparambil in Bengaluru Editing by Shri Navaratnam

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