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Australia, NZ: Shares rebound on optimism over Clinton in US elections

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[BENGALUR] Australia and New Zealand shares bounced back on Monday, as optimism for Hillary Clinton's win in Tuesday's US elections revived after the Federal Bureau of Investigations cleared the Democratic candidate in its latest email review.

The S&P/ASX 200 index rose 0.85 per cent or 43.78 points to 5,224.6 by 1140 GMT. The benchmark rose as much as one per cent to post its biggest percentage gain in a month.

The FBI said on Sunday it stood by its earlier recommendation that no criminal charges were warranted against Mrs Clinton for using a private email server for government work, lifting a cloud over her presidential campaign before the US election on Tuesday.

"After that announcement on Sunday by the FBI, more people are expecting a Clinton victory" said Tony Farnham an economist with Patersons Securities.

"She seems to be the market's favourite".

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News of the renewed review had hurt Mrs Clinton's poll numbers, with Mr Trump cutting into her once formidable lead. The latest Reuters/Ipsos poll shows Mrs Clinton with a 5 percentage point lead over the New York businessman in the national survey - 44 per cent to 39 per cent support.

Investors have generally seen Mrs Clinton as the candidate who would maintain the status quo, while there is more market uncertainty over what a Trump presidency might mean in terms of economic policy, free trade and geopolitics.

Financials gave a huge boost to the benchmark index with all the 'Big 4' banks in positive territory.

Earnings of Westpac Banking Corp were well received by the market, with financials being one of the best performers, Mr Tony added.

After reporting a flat annual cash profit, shares of Westpac, Australia's second-biggest bank by market value rose more than 2 per cent, their biggest percentage gain in three months. National Australia Bank was up more than one per cent.

Large-cap miner BHP Billiton moved 2 per cent higher while Rio Tinto gained more than one per cent.

The energy index rose more than one per cent, posting its biggest percentage rise in over a week. Oil major Santos Ltd jumped 4.3 per cent to hit its highest in a week.

Bucking the trend, gold stocks moved into the red on weak prices, with the benchmark dropping as much as 3.9 per cent, its biggest percentage loss in a month. Newcrest Mining Ltd drifted 2.7 per cent lower.

New Zealand's benchmark S&P/NZX 50 index jumped 2.04 per cent or 137.04 points to 6,845.5 by 0152 GMT, posting its biggest percentage gain in more than a year.

Industrial and telecom stocks gave a major boost to the index, with Spark New Zealand Ltd up 2.8 per cent and Auckland International Airport Ltd rising 3.8 per cent.


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