February 15, 2018 / 1:44 AM / 7 months ago

Australian shares gain on global cues; NZ edges up

* Higher than expected U.S. inflation spurs move to equities

* All Australian sectors gain

* BHP touches 10 month intra-day high

By Aaron Saldanha

Feb 15 (Reuters) - Australian shares rose on Thursday as fixed income investments sold off on higher than expected U.S. inflation data, spurring a global movement to equities.

In late trading on Wednesday, the benchmark U.S. 10-year Treasury note yield rose to 2.916 percent as bond prices fell, while MSCI’s world index of stocks gained 1.4 percent and the S&P 500 added 1.3 percent.

Australia’s S&P/ASX 200 index rose 0.9 percent on Thursday to 5,894.2 by 0050 GMT. The benchmark fell 0.3 percent on Wednesday.

“Naturally, after a disappointing day on the ASX yesterday...traders are betting on a very solid day here in Australia,” Greg McKenna, chief market strategist at CFD, said in a note.

While all sectors rose, the main index was primarily led higher by gains in financials and materials stocks. The mining and metals sector contributed the most as Dalian iron ore in key market China hit a three week peak overnight.

LME nickel added to the optimism, ending Wednesday up 4.8 percent while aluminium finished 1.8 percent higher.

Mining heavyweight BHP gained as much as 4 percent to touch its highest in 10 months and was the main index’s primary driver.

Rival Rio Tinto touched its highest in nearly a month.

The Australian financial index added as much as 0.7 percent, with Australian Securities Exchange Ltd gaining the most. The exchange operator reported a five percent jump in first-half net profit on Thursday, with the stock gaining the most on the sector benchmark.

In the energy sector, Origin Energy Ltd rose as much as 7.8 percent, the most in more than a year, after half-year underlying profit jumped on higher energy prices. The company also raised its full-year earnings forecast.

A rally in oil prices, with Brent crude futures settling up by 2.6 percent on Wednesday, took the energy sector to its biggest percentage gain in a little more than a week.

New Zealand shares were on track to end Thursday marginally higher largely thanks to industrial and telecom stocks.

New Zealand’s benchmark S&P/NZX 50 index rose 0.1 percent, or 7.4 points, to 8,066.2.

Telecom services provider Spark New Zealand Ltd was trading as much as 1.5 percent higher, the most in a fortnight, and was the biggest contributor to index gains.

Reporting by Aaron Saldanha in Bengaluru; Editing by Eric Meijer

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