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Australia, NZ: Australia shares rise more than 0.5%, New Zealand extends losses

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[SYDNEY] Australian shares rose more than 0.5 per cent on Tuesday as stronger commodity prices and support for financials underpinned the benchmark, rebounding from a five-week low touched last week.

The S&P/ASX 200 index rose 0.6 per cent or 30.5 points to 4,961.1 by 0220 GMT. The benchmark rose 0.12 per cent on Monday when the index rebounded from a five-week low of 4,893.5 hit late last week.

"The index was towards the low side of the range and I think that has encouraged some bargain buying," said Chris Conway, head of research and trading, Australian Stock Report.

Financials led the index higher, rising nearly 0.5 per cent.

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Shares in National Australia Bank Ltd, Australia and New Zealand Banking Group and Macquarie Bank Ltd all rose more than 2 per cent.

Analysts attributed the rise in financials, which have been under pressure, to technical buying.

Australia's resource companies rose on the back of stronger commodity prices.

Shares in Rio Tinto Ltd and BHP Billiton Ltd rose more than 2 per cent, while Fortescue Metals Group Ltd rose nearly 1.5 per cent.

The strength of resources, and recovery made by financials offset weakness in food stocks.

Shares in Blackmores Ltd fell nearly 4 per cent as prices hit a near six-month low, while Bellamy's Australia Ltd fell more than 7 per cent amid confusion about Chinese tightening of regulations on purchase of foreign goods online.

New Zealand's benchmark S&P/NZX 50 index fell 0.2 per cent or 15 points to 6.709.71 Tuesday, the third consecutive session of losses.

The biggest gainers were Orion Health Group, which was up 9.5 per cent on news it has inked deals to provide its services in England and Scotland.

The biggest losers included A2 Milk, which shed 6.3 per cent as investors continue to mull the risk of increased Chinese regulation.

REUTERS

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