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Australia shares end losing streak, financials lead; telcos drag NZ

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[BENGALURU] Australian shares ended higher on Tuesday, snapping a five-session losing streak as they rode Wall Street's cheer after US senators struck a deal to end a three-day government shutdown.

Wall Street's main indices climbed to record highs after US lawmakers passed a short-term measure on Monday to fund the federal government through Feb 8.

The S&P/ASX 200 index rose 45.1 points to close at 6,037. The benchmark fell 0.2 per cent on Monday, slipping below the 6,000 level for the first time this year.

Financial stocks led the comeback, with the "Big Four" banks rising in a range of 0.5 per cent to 1.5 per cent.

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Australia and New Zealand Banking Group Ltd gained 1.5 per cent to settle at its best level since Jan 11.

Australian shares of respiratory device maker ResMed Inc were among the top boosters of the index, gaining 8.4 per cent to a record close after it said second-quarter revenue rose 13 per cent.

Upbeat oil prices propped up energy stocks, with Woodside Petroleum Ltd and Origin Energy rallying 1.3 per cent and 3.1 per cent, respectively.

Shares of Treasury Wine Estates Ltd, the world's biggest standalone winemaker, rose 4 per cent to close at an all-time high. Industry figures showed Australia's annual wine exports to its No 1 export market China jumped 63 per cent by value in 2017.

For QBE Insurance Group, Australia's biggest insurer, it was a rather tough session. Its stock fell as much as 6 per cent to its weakest since early October after it flagged a full-year after-tax loss of about US$1.2 billion, hurt by impairment charges in its North American operations.

The insurer looked in less dire shape at the close as the stock pared most of the losses to be 0.6 per cent lower.

New Zealand's benchmark S&P/NZX 50 index fell 0.3 per cent or 27.73 points to finish the session at 8,307.63.

Telecom stock Spark New Zealand Ltd suffered its biggest drop in four months, down 2.5 per cent, while Chorus Ltd closed 1.5 per cent at a seven-week low.

Fuel supplier Z Energy dropped 2.3 per cent to close at its weakest since mid-November after it cut its earnings guidance for fiscal 2018 due to unexpected disruptions of fuel supply in December and a sustained rise in crude oil prices.

REUTERS

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