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Australia, New Zealand: Shares climb as Federal Reserve leaves rates steady

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[BENGALURU] Australian shares advanced for a third straight session on Thursday, boosted by mining stocks, after the US Federal Reserve left interest rates unchanged, hurting the US dollar and lifting commodity prices.

The Reserve Bank of Australia governor Philip Lowe gave an optimistic assessment of the economy in his first public appearance on Thursday.

The S&P/ASX 200 index finished up 0.7 per cent, or 34.94 points, at 5,374.5.

Gold stocks rose as much as 6.8 per cent to record their biggest intraday per centage gain since June. Newcrest Mining jumped 6.9 per cent.

Mining giants BHP Billiton Ltd and Rio Tinto Ltd climbed 2.7 per cent and 3.3 per cent respectively.

New Zealand's benchmark S&P/NZX 50 index recouped losses to rise 0.4 per cent, or 30.54 points, to 7,311.71.

EBOS Group Ltd was the top percentage gainer on the benchmark, ending 2.7 per cent firmer.

REUTERS