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Australia shares touch highest in 6 weeks after oil surges; NZ firmer

Tuesday, October 11, 2016 - 09:10
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[BENGALURU] Australian shares gained on Tuesday, bolstered by energy stocks, after oil prices jumped as much as 3 per cent and Brent hit a one-year high.

The S&P/ASX 200 index rose as much as 0.4 per cent to 5,498 points, the highest level since Aug 30, before shedding some of the gains.

Oil prices surged after Russian President Vladimir Putin said Russia was ready to join a proposed deal to curb oil production in the hope of stemming a two-year price slide.

Mr Putin, speaking at an energy congress in Istanbul, said that low oil prices have lead to under-investment in the global energy sector which will turn into a deficit at some point and trigger new "unpredictable jumps" in prices.

Saudi Energy Minister Khalid al-Falih said he was optimistic of a deal by November. His Algerian counterpart Nouredine Bouterfa said he expected to see "commitments" on cuts from non-Opec oil producers at meetings in Istanbul this week.

"It was pretty much a certainty that the energy and materials were going to start on their front foot this morning, on the back of a good rise in oil prices as Saudis talked optimistically about production freezes," said Tony Farnham, an economist with Patersons Securities.

Energy stocks gained 2.1 per cent to touch a seven-week high. Oil major Santos Ltd jumped 4.8 per cent and Oil Search Ltd rose 2.6 per cent.

Sentiment was also aided by iron ore and steel futures in China, which rebounded from multi-week lows on Monday amid hopes that government efforts to curb property purchases may only have limited impact in cooling overall steel demand.

Global miner BHP Billiton extended gains into a fourth-straight session, advancing 1.6 per cent while Rio Tinto was up as much as 1.4 per cent, hitting a five-month high.

Retail giant Woolworths Ltd extended gains, rising nearly one per cent.

Sirtex Medical Ltd fell as much as 6.2 per cent, its biggest intra-day per centage loss in four months.

Advancing issues outnumbered decliners on the Australia Stock Exchange by a 1.45-to-1 ratio.

New Zealand's benchmark S&P/NZX 50 index snapped five-straight sessions of losses to rise 0.5 per cent or 32.74 points to 7,149.66.

Industrials and utilities accounted for nearly half of the benchmark's gains.

Poultry processing services provider Tegel Group was the top percentage gainer, climbing 2.8 per cent.

Auckland International Airport advanced 2.1 per cent and Air New Zealand extended gains, rising 1.1 per cent.

REUTERS