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Australia: Shares gain on global cues; NZ edges up

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[BENGALURU] Australian shares rose on Thursday as fixed income investments sold off on higher than expected US inflation data, spurring a global movement to equities.

In late trading on Wednesday, the benchmark US 10-year Treasury note yield rose to 2.916 per cent as bond prices fell, while MSCI's world index of stocks gained 1.4 per cent and the S&P 500 added 1.3 per cent.

Australia's S&P/ASX 200 index rose 0.9 per cent on Thursday to 5,894.2 by 0050 GMT. The benchmark fell 0.3 per cent on Wednesday.

"Naturally, after a disappointing day on the ASX yesterday...traders are betting on a very solid day here in Australia," Greg McKenna, chief market strategist at CFD, said in a note.

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While all sectors rose, the main index was primarily led higher by gains in financials and materials stocks. The mining and metals sector contributed the most as Dalian iron ore in key market China hit a three week peak overnight.

LME nickel added to the optimism, ending Wednesday up 4.8 per cent while aluminium finished 1.8 per cent higher.

Mining heavyweight BHP gained as much as 4 per cent to touch its highest in 10 months and was the main index's primary driver.

Rival Rio Tinto touched its highest in nearly a month.

The Australian financial index added as much as 0.7 per cent, with Australian Securities Exchange gaining the most. The exchange operator reported a five percent jump in first-half net profit on Thursday, with the stock gaining the most on the sector benchmark.

In the energy sector, Origin Energy rose as much as 7.8 per cent, the most in more than a year, after half-year underlying profit jumped on higher energy prices. The company also raised its full-year earnings forecast.

A rally in oil prices, with Brent crude futures settling up by 2.6 per cent on Wednesday, took the energy sector to its biggest percentage gain in a little more than a week.

New Zealand shares were on track to end Thursday marginally higher largely thanks to industrial and telecom stocks.

New Zealand's benchmark S&P/NZX 50 index rose 0.1 per cent, or 7.4 points, to 8,066.2.

Telecom services provider Spark New Zealand was trading as much as 1.5 per cent higher, the most in a fortnight, and was the biggest contributor to index gains.

REUTERS

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