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Australia shares edge up as fears on US economy weaken; NZ gains

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[BENGALURU] Australian shares closed marginally higher on Tuesday, helped by mining shares and an uptick in US benchmark Treasury yields that reduced worries about the world's biggest economy slipping into recession.

The S&P/ASX 200 index firmed nearly 0.1 per cent to 6130.6 points. The benchmark fell 1.1 per cent on Monday.

The 10-year US Treasury yield, which fell in the previous session, climbed to reach to 2.43 per cent on Tuesday.

Investors had been spooked by sharp falls in US bond yields and an inversion of the US Treasury yield curve, which many see as an indicator of a coming economic recession.

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"We have seen some pressure on bonds markets... that's probably a major factor that's lifted (stocks)from slightly red to slightly in the green," Michael McCarthy, chief market strategist at CMC Markets, said.

Aiding the benchmark index on Tuesday were gains by the mining index which firmed 0.9 per cent.

BHP Group rose 1.1 per cent and Rio Tinto advanced 0.7 per cent. Both were resuming operations in Western Australia disrupted by a tropical cyclone.

Pressuring the benchmark were shares of conglomerate Wesfarmers Ltd, which dropped about 3.5 per cent to a near three-week low, following the announcement of a US$1.1 billion bid for rare earths miner Lynas Corp.

Heavyweights in the oil sector Santos Ltd and Oil Search Ltd were top drags on the energy index. Santos declined 1.3 per cent and Oil Search 1.1 per cent.

Gains from higher oil prices, rooted in supply cuts led by Opec and US sanctions on Iran and Venezuela, were capped by concerns of a global economic slowdown.

Among the "Big Four" banks, Commonwealth Bank of Australia and National Australia Bank ended higher, while Australia and New Zealand Banking Group and Westpac Banking Corp were down slightly.

New Zealand's benchmark S&P/NZX 50 index rose 0.6 per cent or 55.5 points to finish the session at 9574.8.

Vista Group climbed 4.3 per cent to a three-week high while Ryman Healthcare Ltd rose 2.4 per cent to a four-week high. 

REUTERS