January 31, 2019 / 1:00 AM / 19 days ago

Australia shares rise on Fed guidance, mining gains; NZ up

* Investors cheer Fed statement

* Fortescue Metals hits 16-month high on jump in Q2 shipments

* Mining stocks extend rally for 4th straight session

* Beach Energy up over 9 pct, 16-week high; raises FY19 guidance

By Rashmi Ashok

Jan 31 (Reuters) - Australian shares rose on Thursday, tracking the global stocks rally after the Federal Reserve flagged a more cautious policy path while firm iron ore prices and strong domestic earnings boosted miners and energy stocks.

Global markets were buoyant after the Fed signalled that its cycle of rate hikes may be at an end, holding interest rates steady and discarding promises of “further gradual increases”.

Upbeat results from Boeing and Apple also supported investment sentiment.

“The winds are picking up nicely and we’re set well for a pretty good move across the board,” Damian Rooney, director of equity sales at Argonaut said, noting Wall Street’s buoyant performance and the Fed’s dovish commentary.

“The market today is looking at a goldilocks scenario where interest rates tightening is on hold and there are opportunities for corporates to post pretty good results,” he added.

The S&P/ASX 200 index rose 0.3 percent, or 20.1 points, to 5,906.80 by 0012 GMT. The benchmark rose 0.2 percent on Wednesday.

Mining stocks extended their rally to a fourth straight day, after hitting their highest level in 8-months in the previous session.

Chinese iron ore futures rose to a near 17-month high on Wednesday, after the world’s largest iron ore miner Vale SA said it would cut output and shut certain dams after the disaster in Brazil.

Shares of Fortescue Metals Group jumped to a more than 16-month high after posting a rise in second quarter iron ore shipments, with the introduction of a new mid-grade product offsetting slowing Chinese demand.

Energy stocks also jumped, as oil prices rose on signs from the U.S. government of tightening supply, while concerns of supply disruptions following U.S. sanctions on Venezuela’s oil industry.

Oil and gas explorer Beach Energy Ltd was the top percentage gainer on the sub-index, rising nearly 9 percent after it raised production guidance for 2019 fiscal year, supported by better-than-expected output in the first-half of the year.

The country’s top electricity and gas retailer Origin Energy was also among top gainers after its Australia Pacific LNG project posted a jump in revenue.

On the other hand, financial stocks edged slightly lower in early trade.

New Zealand’s benchmark S&P/NZX 50 index rose 0.7 percent, or 65.88 points, to 8,991.40.

Dairy giant a2 Milk Co was the top percentage gainer on the kiwi benchmark, rising over 3 percent, while Fonterra Shareholders’ Fund was also up.

Reporting by Rashmi Ashok in Bengaluru; Editing by Sam Holmes

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