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Australian shares climb on rate cut expectations; energy shares surge

* Energy, gold stocks lead the charge on ASX

* RBA likely to trim rates by 15 bps later in the day

* Gold stocks enjoy safe-haven appeal to rise 2%

Nov 3 (Reuters) - Australian shares climbed on Tuesday by their most in three weeks ahead of a widely anticipated cut in the benchmark interest rate by the country’s central bank, with energy stocks leading the way after oil prices jumped.

Sydney’s S&P/ASX 200 index rose 1.4% to 6,032.7 by 0018 GMT, up for a second straight session.

Investors eye the monthly policy meeting of the Reserve Bank of Australia (RBA), due at 0330 GMT, where it is expected to trim its cash rate to a new low of 0.1% and shift to quantitative easing (QE).

“Domestically, three words are powering the ASX, interest rate cut. There is not much room to move from a stimulus angle, however it would seem the view is the RBA will cut rates to basically zero,” said James McGlew, executive director of corporate stockbroking at Argonaut.

Major Wall Street indexes closed higher overnight ahead of the U.S. presidential election, with investors bracing for short-term trading turmoil and major long-term policy shifts.

Australia’s energy stocks were the top performers on the benchmark, with the sub-index jumping more than 4%, buoyed by a near 3% rebound in oil prices.

The gold index rallied as their safe-haven appeal brightened on uncertainty surrounding the outcome of the U.S. election and a spike in global coronavirus cases.

Financials added 1%. All the “Big Four” banks, except Westpac Banking Corp, traded higher.

Among the biggest supports to the benchmark index were supply chain logistics firm Brambles and oil and gas company Beach Energy, which jumped more than 8% each.

Consumer staples was the sole industry index to dip into the red.

In New Zealand, the benchmark S&P/NZX 50 index rose 0.4% to 12,123.5 and were set to snap a three-day losing streak. (Reporting by A K Pranav in Bengaluru; editing by Uttaresh.V)

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