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Australia: Shares rise on broad-based gains

[SYDNEY] Australian shares rose 1.4 per cent on Tuesday, rebounding after a steep sell-off in the previous session, helped by a positive lead from Wall Street and hopes for further economic stimulus in China.

The S&P/ASX 200 index rose 82 points to 5,928.1 by 0111 GMT. The benchmark ended down 1.25 per cent at 5,846.1 on Monday, its lowest close since March 18.

China late on Monday announced steps to ease housing taxes and lending rules to prop up a sliding housing market which is imperilling the world's second largest economy. China is Australia's No 1 trading partner.

Despite Tuesday's gains, the index is nearly flat in March so far and is set for its worst monthly performance since last November, hurt by continuing volatility in key commodities such as iron ore and crude oil. "The market has run very hard this morning, look for a few profits to be taken off the table this afternoon, particularly given it is end of quarter so there could be some book squaring," said Tristan K'Nell, head of trading at Quay Equities.

Financials led the gains ,with the big banks including Westpac and CBA up over 1 per cent. Major miners BHP and Rio Tinto were up 3 per cent and 2 per cent respectively.