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Australia shares end higher on banks, miners; A2 Milk weighs on NZ
[BENGALURU] Australian shares posted modest gains on Wednesday supported by bank stocks and miners, while New Zealand shares fell to their lowest in over a week as a2 Milk shares weighed.
The S&P/ASX 200 index rose 0.2 per cent, or 9.2 points, to 6,107, adding to gains of 0.6 per cent on Tuesday.
BHP was the biggest boost to the index, advancing 1.4 per cent as iron ore, oil and copper prices rose.
Westpac Banking's 0.7 per cent rise followed.
Whitehaven Coal was the best performer on the benchmark, surging 7 per cent.
On the ASX All Ordinaries index, department store chain Myer Holdings was among top two percentage gainers, up 16 per cent, despite posting a fall in third-quarter sales.
Mathan Somasundaram, market portfolio strategist at Blue Ocean Equities, said considering expectations from Myer were low, its assets and value of business along with the recent cold weather in Sydney supported the stock.
Shares of a2 Milk Company, listed on both Australia and New Zealand stock exchanges, were the biggest drags on both benchmark indices, diving as much as 20 per cent before closing 13.7 per cent lower in New Zealand.
The company's revenue forecast for the year of more than a 63 per cent rise failed to meet bullish investor expectations.
Synlait Milk Ltd, which has infant formula supply agreements with a2 Milk, closed 4.2 per cent lower.
New Zealand's benchmark S&P/NZX 50 index closed 1.8 per cent or 153.27 points lower at 8,555.51, in its biggest one-day drop since February.
Fletcher Building's 1.1 per cent fall also hurt the index. The company said on Wednesday it would temporarily pay more interest on its borrowings and use funds from a share sale to repay debt in a deal with its lenders aimed at fixing breaches in debt covenants.