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Australia: Shares bounces back as investors shift focus back home; NZ slips

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[BENGALURU] Australian shares clawed back lost ground on Tuesday, with financials and energy stocks outperforming the index, as investors shifted their focus back to the regional market.

Shares had fallen as much as 1 per cent in the previous session taking cues from Wall Street's fall on Friday, with miners accounting for most of the losses.

The S&P/ASX 200 index gained 1 per cent, or 56.10 points to 5,802.80 by 0052 GMT.

What's driving the market "is a more inward looking view on the Australian market," said James McGlew, executive director of corporate stock-broking at Argonaut adding that the market "doesn't necessarily have to get dragged along by what's happening on the Wall Street." Financials led the gains, with the index rising 1.5 per cent. The "Big Four" banks rose 1.4 per cent to 1.8 per cent.

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On Friday, Commonwealth Bank of Australia and Australia and New Zealand Banking Group hiked mortgage rates for speculative buyers as part of an intensifying campaign by regulators to hose down a heated housing market.

Earlier, National Australia Bank and Westpac Banking Corp made similar hikes, citing regulations, higher funding costs and intense competition.

The energy index rose as much as 1.3 per cent to its highest in over a month, with Woodside Petroleum, Oil Search and Origin Energy rising 0.9 to 1.4 per cent.

Material stocks rose 0.7 per cent with miners BHP Billiton, Rio Tinto and Fortescue Metals Group gaining between 1.1 to 1.4 per cent. "Material stocks are moving on the positive sentiment in the market," Mr McGlew added.

Bucking the broader trend, gold stocks fell 0.8 per cent, even as gold prices rose more than 1 per cent.

The gold index had finished nearly 2 per cent higher on Monday.

Gold miner Newcrest Mining, St Barbara and Northern Star Resources fell between 0.7 per cent to 3.5 per cent.

Shares of department store giant Myer Holdings fell 3.6 per cent, after it said it had not received any communication related to any corporate activity on Monday.

On Monday, the Australian Financial Review quoted sources as saying 10 per cent of Myer's shares were bought by Australian businessman Solomon Lew at a premium.

New Zealand's benchmark S&P/NZX 50 index declined marginally, with losses in telecom and real estate stocks erasing gains in healthcare and financial sectors.

Spark New Zealand and Mercury NZ dragged the index down, losing 1 per cent and 1.3 per cent, respectively.

REUTERS

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