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Australia, NZ shares firmer on US-China trade hopes

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[BENGALURU] Australian shares edged higher on Tuesday, supported by positive signals from Washington and Beijing about their trade negotiations and firm earnings guidance from the country's largest investment bank.

The S&P/ASX 200 index rose 0.3 per cent, or 18.3 points, to 6,079.1 at the close of trade. The benchmark had edged 0.2 per cent lower on Monday.

US and China officials expressed hopes that the new round of trade talks would help progress towards easing the seven-month long trade war.

While the "big four" red streak continued for the third straight session, losses were offset by gains in Macquarie Group.

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Shares of Australia's largest investment bank rose 2.1 per cent to a more than four month closing high after the firm said it remained on track for a record annual profit.

"The highlight here is Macquarie after it provided its operational briefing... the market's taken that in its stride," said James McGlew executive director of corporate stockbroking at Argonaut.

Meanwhile, shares of biotherapeutics heavyweight CSL Ltd strengthened 1.6 per cent ahead of its half yearly results scheduled to be released on Wednesday.

The energy subindex extended gains into a second session, climbing 1.2 per cent, with Santos Ltd and Origin Energy Ltd advancing 2 per cent and 2.4 per cent, respectively.

New Zealand's benchmark S&P/NZX 50 index posted its fifth straight session of gains, rising 0.8 per cent or 70.77 points to finish the session at 9,280.77.

The New Zealand-listed shares of Australia and New Zealand Banking Group Ltd rose 1.3 per cent, while those of Goodman Property Trust gained 2.2 per cent.

The Reserve Bank of New Zealand's quarterly survey of expectations showed business managers forecast of annual inflation in the next two years was softer than the previous quarter.

REUTERS

2019-02-12T06:01:59.000Z(VersionCreatedDate) 2019-02-12T060159Z_1147657156_L3N2071YX_RTRMADT_0_AUSTRALIA-STOCKS-CLOSE.txt

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suyen (assigned to online on 2019-02-11 10:47:13)