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Australia: Shares pare gains as market lacks rate path clues

Australian shares bucked a poor performance by Wall Street to edge 0.6 per cent higher on Thursday, aided by a hunt for dividend yield and more merger action.

[SYDNEY] Australian shares pared early gains but finished 0.3 per cent higher on Tuesday after the central bank held interest rates at record lows without indicating whether further easing was needed.

The Reserve Bank of Australia surprised markets by toning down calls for a further fall in the local dollar. Interbank futures now imply a 60 per cent chance of a move by December, from 72 per cent earlier in the day.

The S&P/ASX 200 index rose 18.6 points to 5,697.9 at the close of trade. It breached a key psychological level of 5,700 and hit an intra-day high of 5,727.7 points.

Financials, healthcare and consumer staples sectors led gains while material and energy-related shares were top losers.

New Zealand's benchmark NZX 50 index closed down 0.41 per cent, or 24.1 points, at 5,933.75.