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Australia, New Zealand: Shares rise on hopes of partial Sino-US trade deal

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Australian shares rose on Friday as hopes for at least a partial Sino-US trade deal were bolstered by positive comments from both sides, with markets now focusing on a final meeting between officials later in the day.

[BENGALURU] Australian shares rose on Friday as hopes for at least a partial Sino-US trade deal were bolstered by positive comments from both sides, with markets now focusing on a final meeting between officials later in the day.

The S&P/ASX 200 index rose 0.7 per cent or 47.5 points to 6,594.60 by 0040 GMT, and was set to add 1.2 per cent for the week.

US President Donald Trump told reporters that negotiations on Thursday were "very, very good," while Chinese news agency Xinhua reported that Beijing was willing to reach an agreement to avoid further escalation.

The news soothed investor nerves, with markets having navigated a volatile week amid contrasting headlines about the US-China trade negotiations.

Most sectors on the ASX 200 gained, with resource stocks doing most of the heavy lifting.

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The mining subindex was up about 1.2 per cent, with heavyweights BHP Group and Rio Tinto adding more than 2 per cent each.

"The US dollar index has pulled back a bit overnight. A lower dollar is better for commodities, and in that context we've seen a bit of a bounce," said Mathan Somasundaram, market portfolio strategist at Blue Ocean Equities.

"The longer term picture- global growth worries- being that it's likely to weigh on commodities, so I'm not overly positive."

The mining subindex saw its best session in nearly one month. Slowing economic growth in the face of a drawn-out Sino-US trade war is expected to bite demand for commodities, particularly growth-oriented resources such as iron ore, copper, and oil.

Markets also awaited quarterly production reports from major Australian miners next week.

Financial stocks rose about 0.7 per cent, with the "big four" banks adding between 0.6 per cent and 1.2 per cent. The subindex was set to gain about 0.8 per cent for the week.

IOOF Holdings rose about 0.8 per cent after it sold its stake in domestic fund manager Perennial Value Management to focus on its core wealth management business.

Energy stocks rose more than 1 per cent, tracking gains in oil prices after comments from the Opec inspired some hope for supply cuts in 2020.

On the other hand, gold stocks declined more than 1 per cent, as bullion prices fell amid broader moves into risk assets.

New Zealand stocks rose amid broad-based gains, with the benchmark S&P/NZX 50 index rising 0.4 per cent or 42.42 points to 10,929.15.

The New Zealand benchmark was set to add about 0.3 per cent for the week.

Flag carrier Air New Zealand rose about 0.5 per cent after it named Walmart executive Greg Foran as its next chief executive officer.

REUTERS

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