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Australia: Shares rise more than 0.5%, NZ shares edge higher

[SYDNEY] Australian shares rose more than 0.5 per cent on Tuesday, recouping all the losses in the previous session, despite the country's fourth largest bank posting its biggest decline in half-year cash profit since 2008.

The S&P/ASX 200 index rose 0.75 per cent, or 39.3 points to 5,282.3 by 0319 GMT. The benchmark fell 0.18 per cent on Tuesday.

Financials led the index higher, rising 0.75 per cent as market sentiment was buoyed despite Australia and New Zealand Banking Group posting its biggest half-yearly decline in cash profit since 2008 and slashed dividends for the first time in seven years on rising corporate defaults triggered by a mining downturn.

"A lot of investors seem to be indicating that this might be the low point for ANZ and that had a positive impact on the index and the view that the worse maybe over for financials,"said Angus Nicholson, market analyst, IG Markets.

ANZ rose more than more than 4 per cent, while Commonwealth Bank of Australia Ltd and National Australia Bank Ltd both rose more than 1.5 per cent. Westpac Banking Corporation - the other member of Australia's Big Four banks rose nearly 1 per cent.

Australia's largest miners, Rio Tinto Ltd and BHP Billiton Ltd both fell more than 2 per cent as Chinese iron prices retreated.

New Zealand's benchmark S&P/NZX 50 index rose 0.25 per cent or 15.83 points to 6,807.65 on Tuesday.

New Zealand's biggest poultry processor Tegel Group Holdings Ltd jumped as much as 10 per cent after its debut on the New Zealand stock exchange on Tuesday.

Air New Zealand rose 2.78 per cent as the airline held its investor day presentation and said the fuel price outlook and record tourism to New Zealand continued to be favourable.

Sky TV lost 1.85 per cent and telecommunications operator Spark fell 1.76 per cent.

REUTERS