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Australia: Shares edge up as Trump ratchets down trade war rhetoric

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Australian shares inched higher on Tuesday, after comments by US President Donald Trump raised hopes for some de-escalation in the Sino-US trade war, persuading some investors too return to risk markets after a rout in the previous session.

[BENGALURU] Australian shares inched higher on Tuesday, after comments by US President Donald Trump raised hopes for some de-escalation in the Sino-US trade war, persuading some investors too return to risk markets after a rout in the previous session.

Australia's S&P ASX 200 index was 0.4 per cent, or 24.8 points, higher at 6,464.9 by 0217 GMT.

The benchmark had given up 1.3 per cent on Monday, in line with a wider market slump after the latest salvoes in the tariff war between the United States and China.

Tensions went down a notch later on Monday when US President Donald Trump flagged the possibility of a trade deal with China and said he believed Beijing was sincere in its desire to reach an agreement.

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Market voices on:

"Analysts are still very sceptical about the potential for a deal in the near term, the reality is there are still some difficult points to be negotiated," said Michael McCarthy, chief market strategist at CMC Markets, commenting on the modest moves in the domestic market.

Big miners and banking stocks were responsible for most of the benchmark's gains.

Mining behemoth BHP Group climbed as much as 1.1 per cent, after losing 2.1 per cent in the last session when the bitter trade war salvo had threatened the outlook for resources, Australia's biggest export to China.

The "big four" banks also gained between 0.4 per cent and 0.9 per cent.

High-growth tech stocks jumped as much as 2.4 per cent, mirroring overnight moves from tariff-sensitive Wall Street peers such as Apple Inc.

Buy-now-pay-later firm Afterpay Touch was the top gainer on the sub-index, tacking on 8.3 per cent to its highest in over 3 weeks.

Safe-haven gold units lost their charm in the cooler trade landscape, trading as much as 4.4 per cent lower after having gained 6.7 per cent on Monday.

"Movements that we're seeing (on gold stocks) and the size of them reflects the fact that ... the gold sector is being dominated by traders rather than investors," said Mr McCarthy.

Gold miners Newcrest Mining, St Barbara and Evolution Mining declined between 3.4 per cent and 6.4 per cent.

Energy stocks did not share in wider relief, down 0.5 per cent after oil prices fell 1 per cent on Monday on the outlook for increased supply of Iranian crude.

Oil and gas firm Santos fell as much as 1.7 per cent.

New Zealand's benchmark S&P/NZX 50 index was 0.8 per cent lower at 10,572.17. Seafood firm Sanford led losses, down as much as 2 per cent at an over 5 month low.

REUTERS