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Australia shares advance as earnings season rolls on; NZ rises

[SYDNEY] Australian shares recovered on Monday helped by broadly optimistic earnings, with the financial and material sectors driving most of the gains.

The S&P/ASX 200 index rose 0.7 per cent, or 41.86 points, to 5,735 by 0304 GMT.

The gains were broad-based with all sectors in the black.

"We are in the middle of the reporting season, where a lot of the focus is. Some of the biggest moves are reflecting the results they have put out," said Michael McCarthy, chief market strategist at CMC Markets.

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Bendigo and Adelaide Bank was the top percentage gainer on the benchmark after it posted a 4 per cent increase in its cash earnings for the 12-months ended June 30.

Meanwhile, Commonwealth Bank of Australia gained more than one per cent after it said its chief executive Ian Narev would retire by June 2018, in the wake of a scandal over money laundering and terror financing allegations.

The materials sector was among the best performing with mining giants BHP Billiton and Rio Tinto edging up 0.4 per cent and 0.6 per cent, respectively, after London copper and aluminium prices advanced on Monday, holding near recent two-year peaks on a weaker US dollar.

In other sectors, technology stocks rose sharply aided by Carsales.Com Ltd, which climbed as much as 3.3 per cent to hit a record high. The auto classifieds website operator reported an 8 per cent increase in its revenue for fiscal 2017 last week.

"Carsales reported strongly. The market initially sold it off but now seems to be taking back some of the selling that we saw last week after their results," Mr McCarthy added.

Meanwhile, Ansell Ltd slipped as much as 5.8 per cent to a one-year low after the rubber-products maker said its full-year profit fell 7.2 per cent, missing forecasts, as it was hurt by climbing raw material costs and one-off acquisition charges.

Among other stocks in the red was Aurizon Holdings Ltd, down about 1.5 per cent after the coal rail operator said it had decided to quit its freight business.

New Zealand's benchmark S&P/NZX 50 index inched up 0.4 per cent, or 33.11 points, to 7,752.22.

Utilities, materials and consumer discretionary stocks together accounted for more than half of the gains.

Sentiment was boosted by New Zealand's buoyant retail sales. Data on Monday showed retail sales volumes jumped 2 per cent in the second quarter, beating expectations and buoyed by high-profile international sporting events that are attracting a flood of tourists to the country.

Genesis Energy and Sky Network Television were among the top gainers, rising 2.7 per cent and 1.9 per cent, respectively.