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Australia shares touch near 1-mth high, NZ hits record
October 11, 2017 / 1:11 AM / 2 months ago

Australia shares touch near 1-mth high, NZ hits record

Oct 11 (Reuters) - Australian shares rose to a near one-month high on Wednesday, led by miners and financial stocks and tracking a strong overnight lead from Wall Street, while a number of large stocks benefitted from foreign buying after the local dollar rose.

The S&P/ASX 200 index rose 32.19 points or 0.6 percent to 5,770.6 by 0021 GMT. The benchmark fell 0.02 percent on Tuesday.

“It’s predominantly a currency trade, we’ve had the U.S. dollar come off and the Aussie dollar is trading up...Global investors are buying into the Aussie exposure,” said Mathan Somasundaram, a market portfolio strategist with Blue Ocean Equities.

Wall Street ended on Tuesday with the Dow Jones Industrial Average hitting a record high, while the dollar fell against a basket of currencies.

The Australian dollar was up about 0.2 percent against the dollar as at 0021 GMT.

Australian financials mirrored their U.S. peers, with the financial index hitting its highest since mid-August. Westpac Banking Corp and National Australia Bank Ltd were among the top contributors to the rise, gaining about 0.9 percent apiece.

“Global investors generally buy into the large caps, which is dominated by the banks, miners and the staples,” added Somasundaram.

Financials were the best performing stocks on the benchmark index.

Materials stocks were also higher, with index heavyweights BHP Billiton Ltd and Rio Tinto Ltd edging up a notch.

The Australian metals and mining index rose about 0.2 percent.

Oil prices rose about 2 percent on Saudi Arabian export cuts in November, while gold prices hit a near two-week high on a softer dollar and geopolitical tensions across the globe.

Consumer discretionary stocks also gained, with gaming machines maker Aristocrat Leisure Ltd hitting a more than 3-month high, while Flight Centre Travel Group Ltd gained nearly 4 percent.

A survey of 1,200 people by the Melbourne Institute and Westpac Bank published on Wednesday found consumer sentiment climbed 3.6 percent in October, on top of a 2.5 percent rise the month before.

Meanwhile, New Zealand shares touched a record intraday high for a fifth consecutive session, on track for their best streak of gains since May this year.

New Zealand’s benchmark S&P/NZX 50 index rose 0.2 percent or 13.8 points to 8,051.6.

Information technology stocks and consumer staples were the best performers, with accounting software developer Xero Ltd at a more than three-year high, while a2 Milk Company Ltd hit a record high.

Reporting by Ambar Warrick in Bengaluru; Editing by Sam Holmes

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