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Australia: Shares upbeat on rally in commodities, NZ up

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[SYDNEY] Australian shares rose on Tuesday as commodity prices continued to rally, with the benchmark index heading for its sixth day of gains in what would be its longest winning streak in over six months.

The S&P/ASX 200 index rose 0.4 per cent, or 22.31 points, to 5,782.6 by 0110 GMT. The benchmark rose 0.7 per cent on Monday.

"There's very positive sentiment in the market. Strong moves in the commodities market again overnight with iron ore futures moving up over US$90 It's been a catalyst for the mining sector, including copper," said Gary Burton, a market analyst at IG Markets.

Material stocks accounted for most of the gains on the benchmark, with the ASX Metals and Mining index up almost one per cent on its third day of gains.

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The world's second-largest miner Rio Tinto surged as much as 2.2 per cent to its highest in nearly three years while iron ore giant Fortescue Metals touched its highest in over six years.

Iron ore futures surged nearly 7 per cent to their highest in more than three years on Monday, following firmer steel prices.

Mining giant BHP Billiton extended gains to a third consecutive session, unfazed by a strike and shut down of its copper mine Escondida in Chile.

Copper prices rallied to touch their highest since May 2015, after shipments from the world's two biggest copper mines, Escondida mine and Grasberg mine, were disrupted.

Nickel miner Western Areas rose as much as 3.4 per cent at one point.

Financial stocks shuffled in narrow ranges with Australia and New Zealand Bank leading gains, National Australia Bank flat and the other two banks from the "Big 4" leading losses.

The biggest bank by market cap, Commonwealth Bank of Australia is expected to report its half-year results on Wednesday.

The world's biggest listed stand-alone wine company Treasury Wine Estates dropped as much as 5.8 per cent to touch its lowest one-day loss in seven months despite posting a record half-year profit.

New Zealand's benchmark S&P/NZX 50 index edged up 0.4 per cent, or 25.99 points, to 7,161.49 by 0113 GMT.

Telecom stocks led gains with Spark New Zealand up 1.7 per cent.

House prices in New Zealand's largest city of Auckland recovered in January, rising 2.4 per cent after a 1.4 per cent dip in December.

Meanwhile, Markets operator NZX Ltd fell as much as 4.4 per cent to its biggest one-day fall in 4 months, as net profit halved.

REUTERS

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