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Australia: Shares rise 0.7 per cent led by banks, miners


[SYDNEY] Australian shares rose 0.7 per cent on Wednesday after hitting a two-year low in the previous session led by gains in banks and miners, although investors continued to be cautious on persistent worries about global growth and China.

The S&P/ASX 200 index rose 35.6 points to 4,954 by 0153 GMT, paring gains after hitting an intra-day high of 4,998.8.

The benchmark tumbled 3.8 per cent on Tuesday, posting its biggest drop since Aug 24.

The index is on track for its biggest daily percentage gain since Sept 9 but will still end the month down about 5 per cent, following on from August's 8.6 per cent drop.

The benchmark has now lost 9.3 per cent in the September quarter, on track for its poorest quarterly showing since 2011. "The market is rebounding from yesterday's falls but it is a short-term thing," said Danial Moradi, equity strategist at Lonsec. "We think that it's likely the selling pressure will return led by overseas markets. Negative pressure from the resources sector will continue." Moradi expects the market to touch 4,600-4,700 levels, after it breached a key psychological support of 5,000 on Tuesday.

The market's recent rout has forced most strategists to slash their year-end expectations, but a new Reuters poll shows the index will still end 2015 roughly 6 per cent above Tuesday's close.

Major banks led the gains on Wednesday with ANZ Banking and NAB rising 0.7 per cent each.

Miner Rio Tinto surged 2.4 per cent after agreeing to sell 40 per cent stake in its coal mine to New Hope Corp . New Hope was trading up 1.8 per cent.

Energy provider AGL slipped about 4 per cent after it said it expects underlying profit to rise between A$650-A$720 million for 2015/16 compared with analysts' expectations of A$707 million.

Slater & Gordon SGH.AX jumped 7 per cent after it released a revised version of its accounts for the past two years. The changes resulted in a rise of A$1.4 million to the A$82.3 million net profit it reported for 2014/15.

For more individual stocks activity click on In contrast, New Zealand's benchmark NZX 50 index dropped to a three-week trough to stand 0.3 per cent lower at 5,594.0. It was on track for a loss of 1 per cent in September, which would be the second consecutive month of decline.

Energy-related shares were hit by a fall in oil prices. Shares in Genesis Energy tumbled 5.6 per cent, its second largest daily loss this year.

Yet, New Zealand's state-run pension fund and utilities investor Infratil managed to outperform after the market cheered the sale of a stake in petrol retailer Z Energy Ltd.