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Australia shares end at month high led by miners, energy firms; NZ down

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[BENGALURU] Australian shares closed at a four-week high on Tuesday, as a rally in oil and metal prices boosted the mining and energy sectors.

The S&P/ASX 200 index rose 1.2 per cent, or 61.96 points, to 5,413.30 at the close of trade, its highest since Oct 25.

Oil prices rose to their highest since October after comments from Russian President Vladimir Putin raised hopes that producer countries will reach a deal at a meeting next week to limit output.

Metals gained on expectations of improving appetite in top consumer China, and as investors bet that a rise in oil prices would stoke inflation, increasing the allure of commodities as a hedge.

The Australian energy index hit its highest in more than five weeks, with oil major Woodside Ltd rising 2.4 per cent, while Santos Ltd closed 3.8 per cent higher.

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Miners led the gains, with heavyweight BHP Billiton Ltd rising as much as 4.4 per cent to its highest since Oct 2015.

Rio Tinto Ltd closed 2.2 per cent higher.

New Zealand's benchmark S&P/NZX 50 index surrendered earlier gains to close down half a per cent or 32.56 points to finish the session at 6,816.39.

Industrial and healthcare stocks led the losses on the index, with airport operator Auckland International Airport Ltd slipping by 2.4 per cent, while retirement village operator Ryman Healthcare Ltd shed 2.7 per cent.

Bucking the trend, software firm Xero Ltd rose 2.2 per cent, while Dairy product maker a2 Milk Co Ltd jumped 4.8 per cent.


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