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Australia, New Zealand: Shares rise as Brexit fears subside

Monday, June 20, 2016 - 11:56
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[MELBOURNE] Australian and New Zealand shares rose on Monday as the latest poll showed Britons leaning in favour of staying in the European Union, which spurred a move out of safe-haven gold and back into banking and mining stocks.

At 0232 GMT, the S&P/ASX 200 index had gained 61.84 points, or 1.2 per cent, to 5,224.50, clawing back some of last week's 3 per cent drop.

Analysts and investors said the market was likely to remain shaky ahead of Britain's EU vote on Thursday.

"It's really just ebbing and flowing. But if there is an exit, there are broader ramifications for the EU which I think are being underpriced," said Akshay Chopra, an analyst at Karara Capital.

On Monday, Australia's big four banks all rose more than 2 per cent, recouping some of last week's heavy losses.

Among big miners, BHP Billiton jumped 2.9 per cent, helped by higher metals and oil prices, while Rio Tinto rose 1.7 per cent.

Energy stocks were among the top gainers, led by Origin Energy and Beach Energy, up more than 7 per cent.

Weaker gold prices drove gold miners, including Newcrest Mining and Northern Star Resources, down more than 3 per cent.

Grocery group Metcash fell as much as 15.8 per cent to a one-year low after flagging it faces a tough year ahead with costs rising, German group Aldi expanding into its strongholds and major supermarket chains slashing prices.

The stock, one of the most heavily shorted in the market, initially rose after Metcash reported that underlying profit for the year ended April 30 rose 2.7 per cent to A$178.3 million, in line with market expectations. "What they've done is stabilise the ship, but the headwinds still persist, which is what the stock's reacting to," Mr Chopra said.

New Zealand's benchmark S&P/NZX 50 index rose 0.3 per cent or 20 points to 6,866.85.

The biggest gainers included Property for Industry, which was up 3.3 per cent, but volumes were light.

Retailer Warehouse Group dropped 2.8 per cent after data showed consumer confidence in New Zealand fell in the second quarter, as households have become increasingly nervous about the economic outlook.

The Westpac-McDermott Miller consumer confidence index fell to 106.0 in the April-June quarter from 109.6 in the previous one.

REUTERS