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Australia: Shares post biggest gain in 5 weeks on dovish Fed outlook


[SYDNEY] Australian shares rose the most in five weeks on Thursday after the US Federal Reserve suggested it may raise interest rates later than previously thought, while energy stocks followed the surging oil price higher.

The Fed downgraded its economic growth and inflation projections for the United States, triggering a relief rally on Wall Street as investors bet that any rate hike will be later rather than sooner.

The S&P/ASX 200 index closed up 1.9 per cent or 108.5 points at 5950.8, its biggest percentage gain since Feb. 13 and its highest finish in two weeks. Every sector was up.

New Zealand's benchmark NZX 50 index advanced 0.2 per cent or 12.7 points to finish the session at 5859.4.