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Australia shares gain on US data, oil; NZ stocks fall

Thursday, October 6, 2016 - 14:15
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[BENGALURU] Australian shares recovered some ground on Thursday, tracking Wall Street and driven by financial stocks, after strong US economic data and sharp gains in oil prices hinted at a recovering global economy.

The S&P/ASX 200 index perked up 30.07 points, or 0.6 per cent, to 5,483 at the close of trade.

Data from the Institute of Supply Management (ISM) showed that US services sector activity rebounded to an 11-month high in September, bolstering prospects of an interest rate hike by the Federal Reserve in December.

Financials outperformed other sectors on the news, with all of the 'Big Four' banks rising. The financials index closed 0.8 per cent higher, extending gains for a fourth session.

The energy index gained as much as 2.1 per cent and touched a 1-1/2-month high, buoyed after oil prices rose two per cent to their highest since June.

Santos Ltd was among the biggest percentage gainers on the benchmark index, while oil major Woodside Petroleum touched an over one-month high, hovering around its highest this year hit on Aug 25.

Meanwhile, New Zealand's benchmark S&P/NZX 50 index slipped 1.01 per cent, or 73.87 points, to finish the session at 7,197.29, dragged down by healthcare and industrial stocks.

Heartland Bank was the biggest percentage loser on the N.NZ50 , its worst day in around three months.

Bucking the trend, a2 Milk Co gained the most on the benchmark, on the back of ANZ Bank's commodity price index data that showed prices for New Zealand's main commodities rose 5.1 per cent in September to a 17-month high, driven by dairy prices.

REUTERS