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Australia shares end at over 2-week high on Xi's speech, resources firms; NZ up
[BENGALURU] Australia shares rose on Tuesday as a combination of higher metal prices and comments from China's president Xi Jinping, seen as calming trade tensions with the United States, drove up resources stocks and financials.
Risker assets, including regional equities and US stock futures, rallied after Mr Xi promised to open the country's markets further, lower import tariffs on products including cars and protect intellectual property of foreign firms.
The S&P/ASX 200 index gained 0.8 per cent, or 48.3 points, to 5,857. It rose 0.4 per cent on Monday. A de-escalation in the trade dispute between the United States and China, Australia's biggest export market and a key revenue earner for its resources, would be seen as beneficial to local stocks. The Australia dollar, a liquid proxy for China plays, also advanced on the day.
Materials stocks gained after Shanghai aluminium prices touched their highest in more than a month after US sanctions being imposed on Russian aluminium major United Company Rusal led to concerns about the metal's supply.
The Shanghai Futures Exchange's most-traded May aluminium contract climbed as much as 1.5 per cent while the most-traded iron ore for September delivery on the Dalian Commodity Exchange gained 3 per cent.
"There are issues with aluminium markets, specifically with the Russian supply side and that is a short term spike, but overall, I think that will have some effect," said Mathan Somasundaram, market portfolio strategist, Blue Ocean Equities.
Global miner BHP closed 0.8 per cent higher while Rio Tinto gained 2.8 per cent.
Bauxite miner and refiner Alumina Ltd climbed 2 per cent to its highest close in seven years. Australia's mining index rose for a third straight session, ending up 1.6 per cent.
Westpac Banking Corp contributed the most to the benchmark's performance, rising 1.5 per cent. Fellow lender Commonwealth Bank of Australia firmed 1.1 per cent and the financial index made a strong contribution of a 1.1 per cent gain to the broader market.
Healthcare stocks fell on Tuesday, after making the biggest contribution to the market the previous day.
Across the Tasman Sea, New Zealand's benchmark S&P/NZX 50 index rose 0.2 per cent, or 15.64 points, to 8,469.77, helped by utilities and industrials.
Ryman Healthcare Ltd gained 1.9 per cent while Contact Energy Ltd tacked on 1.7 per cent.