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Australia, NZ: Shares buoyed by Opec deal on output cut

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[BENGALURU] Australian shares rallied on Thursday, powered by financials, miners and energy stocks, after oil cartel Opec agreed to cut crude output to clear a glut.

The Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries on Wednesday agreed to its first output cut since 2008, finally taking action having seen global oil prices tumble by more than half in the last two years. Non-Opec Russia will also join output cuts for the first time in 15 years.

The S&P/ASX 200 index snapped three sessions of losses to jump 59.73 points, or 1.1 per cent, to 5,500.2 by the close of trade.

The energy index soared as much as 7.4 per cent, recording its biggest intra-day percentage gain in eight years. Oil major Santos ended up 11.7 per cent, while Beach Energy jumped as much as 14.4 per cent to touch a 15-month high.

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Global miners BHP Billiton and Rio Tinto climbed 4.9 per cent and 1.7 per cent respectively.

The benchmark financial index extended its strong run, with the "Big Four" banks ending about one per cent firmer. The sector got a boost from a solid showing in US peers.

New Zealand's benchmark S&P/NZX 50 index edged up 0.5 per cent, or 35.79 points, to finish the session at 6,932.74.

The biggest gainer was a2 Milk Company, rising 4.9 per cent to hit a 9-month high.