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Australia: Gold, material stocks drive shares higher; New Zealand up

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[BENGALURU] Australian shares rose on Friday after a record Wall Street close while the gold mining sector also provided some support as investors sought the safe-haven allure of the precious metal amid uncertainty about a Sino-US trade resolution.

The S&P/ASX 200 index rose 0.5 per cent, or 36.4 points, to 6,771.50 by 0100 GMT. The benchmark rose 0.6 per cent on Thursday.

"The markets are certainly in a 'buy the dip' mentality now than more of a 'sell the rally'," said Nick Twidale, director & co-founder at Xchainge.

"When there's no fresh sentiment drivers the market will grind higher to the topside," Mr Twidale added noting a change in the market sentiment over the past couple of weeks.

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Sentiment was also buoyed by upbeat comments from White House economic adviser Larry Kudlow who said United States is getting close to a trade agreement with China.

Gold stocks rallied 1.2 per cent, buoyed by a 5.1 per cent rise in Dacian Gold and a 2.7 per cent rise in Saracen Mineral Holdings.

Spot gold prices had risen overnight to US$1,472.66 per ounce amid doubts about a trade deal between China and the United States.

Gold stocks also lifted the Aussie mining sub-index which rose 1.1 per cent.

The heavyweight miners also saw an uptick with BHP Group rising 1.3 per cent and Rio Tinto gaining 0.6 per cent.

Meanwhile, Graincorp was the biggest percentage gainer on the benchmark, rising 7.5 per cent after Australia's competition regulator gave the green light to the takeover of the company's domestic bulk liquids terminals business by ANZ Terminals. The regulatory obstacles had kept the deal on hold delaying Graincorp's restructuring efforts.

The government also approved China Mengniu Dairy's A$1.43 billion (S$1.33 billion) takeover of infant formula maker Bellamy's Australia, sending it to an over one year high.

Tech stocks maintained their winning streak for a seventh consecutive session rising as much as 1 per cent.

These are the preferred stocks chosen to beef up investor portfolios in a bullish market, Twidale said, as seen in the 10 per cent boost to the sub-sector from its current rally, as of last close.

Shares of Appen rose 1.5 per cent and those Link Administration Holdings gained 4.3 per cent.

Healthcare stocks extended gains to rise 0.8 per cent with biotherapeutics company CSL at a record high, gaining as much 1.1 per cent.

New Zealand's benchmark S&P/NZX 50 index rose 0.5 per cent or 58.94 points to 10,958.19.

Shares of Ryman Healthcare Ltd and Infratil Ltd were the top percentage gainers on the bourse logging 3.1 per cent and a 2.7 per cent gains, respectively. 

REUTERS