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Australia, New Zealand shares edge up as oil prices jump; Fed in focus
[SYDNEY] Australian shares rebounded on Tuesday, helped by a rally in oil prices after leading Opec producer Saudi Arabia vowed to limit exports from next month while investors turned their focus to the US Federal Reserve's meeting starting later in the day.
The Fed is widely expected to keep interest rates unchanged at its two-day meeting which ends on Wednesday, and investors will be watching for any fresh hints on whether it might raise interest rates again this year.
The S&P/ASX 200 index rose 46.93 points, or 0.8 per cent to 5,735 by 0317 GMT, snapping two straight days of falls. The benchmark closed 0.6 per cent lower on Monday.
Industrials, healthcare and material stocks led gains, with Sydney Airport Holdings and CSL Ltd climbing as much as about 2.2 per cent and Newcrest Mining Ltd hitting more than a three-week high.
"Here in Australia, investors are thinking that rates will remain steady for perhaps a few more months. So that being the case, if you are looking for returns on your money then you can buy yields, and well, it is the yield part of the market today that is getting attention," said James McGlew, executive director of corporate stock broking for Argonaut in Perth.
"Investors are very unsure of the long-term direction of the market so the focus is not so much on the 'Big Four' banks or the big resource companies; it is now fading into the next line of industrial stocks, particularly those that pay a good dividend."
Gold stocks headed for a third consecutive session of gains, up as much as 2.1 per cent, as gold prices hit a one-month high on Monday before inching lower early on Tuesday ahead of the Fed's monetary policy meeting.
Newcrest Mining topped the gold index and was one of the biggest gainers on the main index. Evolution Mining, Regis Resources and Saracen Mineral Holdings added between 0.7 per cent and 1.5 per cent.
Overall, Australian shares will "start to gain a more decisive direction over the course of the next two weeks as companies start to do their reporting," Mr McGlew added.
New Zealand's benchmark S&P/NZX 50 index inched up 0.2 per cent, or 15.37 points, to 7,697.66 at 0317 GMT.
Gains were spread across the materials, consumer staples and healthcare stocks.
A2 Milk Company Ltd, Fisher & Paykel Healthcare Corporation Ltd and Fletcher Building Ltd were the top gainers on the index.