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Australia, New Zealand: Shares higher on China stimulus prospects

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BENGALURU] Australian stocks pulled ahead on Tuesday, tracking a global rally and as hopes China would implement policies to shore up its economy supported the commodity sector.

The S&P/ASX 200 index climbed 0.3 per cent, or 21.1 points, to 6,201.3 by 0043 GMT, recovering some of its 0.4 per cent decline on Monday.

On Monday, Wall Street climbed and China's main bourses clawed back almost half the 4 per cent they lost on Friday on expectations of more economic stimulus to prop up slowing economic growth.

"Nice bounce overnight in line with the US markets. Should be a better day today, though for me the set up is still for lower prices," said Greg McKenna, strategist at McKenna Macro in a note. Australian stocks have added over 14 per cent in value since grazing a two-year low on Dec 24.

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Financials and commodity stocks backed most of the benchmark's cheer on the day.

An index of mining stocks advanced over one percent, bolstered by low levels of copper stocks in LME warehouses, which propped up prices of the red metal on Friday.

Global mining heavyweights Rio Tinto and BHP Group in turn rose over 2 per cent, each.

Energy stocks also rose 1.2 per cent, benefiting from higher oil prices lifted by output cuts led by producer group Opec.

Oil and gas companies Santos and Woodside Petroleum each added 2.4 per cent and 1.2 per cent.

Financial stocks rose 0.2 per cent.

In other sectors, shares of intellectual property services provider Xenith Ip Group spiked as much as 15.3 percent to its best level in over one and a half years after its larger competitor IPH Ltd made an offer to buy it for about A$174.8 million.

Meanwhile, New Zealand stocks also advanced with financial and utility stocks driving the gains.

The benchmark S&P/NZX 50 index was 0.2 per cent, or 17.39 points, higher at 9,408.24.

Financial services provider Heartland Group rose as much as 1.3 per cent while Fletcher Building Ltd was up 1.9 per cent.

REUTERS