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Australia: Shares leap to over 3-week highs on oil, metals; NZ rebounds

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[SYDNEY] Australian shares surged on Tuesday to hit a more than three-week high, bolstered by miners and energy stocks, as oil and metals rallied, with top miner BHP Billiton climbing 2 per cent.

The S&P/ASX 200 index rose 48.56 points, or 0.9 per cent, to 5399.9 by 0030 GMT.

Oil prices soared 4 per cent to a three-week high on Monday, strengthened by growing conviction that major oil producing countries would agree to limit output next week.

Metals, led by copper, also gained on expectations of improving appetite from top consumer China and higher demand from the US market as the US dollar pared recent gains.

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Benchmark copper on the London Metals Exchange closed at US$5,559 a tonne, up 2.5 per cent. Chinese investors, whose rush into copper hauled it to 17-month highs this month, say infrastructure spending and government reforms will keep the metal well supported for the rest of this year.

"At this stage it continues to be resources leading the market higher and some of the interest rate sensitives have started to turn around after being beaten up. It is a bit of a recovery in those yield-sensitive stocks," said Will Keenan, general manager of direct equities research at Lonsec.

Miners led the gains, with BHP Billiton jumping more than 2 per cent to extend gains into a fourth session. The company has been largely outperforming the index, according to Thomson Reuters Datastream. South32 Ltd was among the top performers on the ASX All Aust 50 Index, rising 3.5 per cent, driven by gains in nickel and aluminium.

Energy stocks extended gains to rise as much as 2.1 per cent, hitting a more than one-month high. Oil major Woodside Petroleum jumped as much as 2.1 per cent to touch an 11-month high, while Beach Energy soared more than 4 per cent to touch its highest in 15 months.

Software company TechnologyOne was among the top gainers, soaring as much as 5.9 per cent to record its biggest intra-day percentage gain since May. The company reported a 16 per cent rise in its full-year net profit.

Retail giants Woolworths and Wesfarmers rose 1.5 per cent and 1.3 per cent respectively.

New Zealand's benchmark S&P/NZX 50 index rebounded to rise 0.4 per cent, or 28.59 points to 6,877.54.

Utilities and telecom stocks helped push the benchmark higher.

Contact Energy and Meridian Energy led gains in the utilities sector, advancing 2.2 per cent and 1 per cent respectively.

Honey supplier Comvita Ltd was among the top gainers on the benchmark, rising 2.3 per cent.

At the other end, software firm Xero Ltd shed more than 1 per cent.

REUTERS

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