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Australia shares extend gains as RBA heightens hope, NZ inches up

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[BENGALURU] Australian shares advanced for a second straight session on Wednesday, propelled by financials and materials stocks, and boosted by the central bank's positive view on normalising inflation.

The S&P/ASX 200 index extended gains to end 1.35 per cent, or 73.168 points, higher to 5,484.4 at the close of trade.

The S&P ASX Financials (GIC) rose to its highest in 10 months up by as much as 1.32 per cent.

The "Big Four" banks dominated the financial sector, each up around 1.5 per cent.

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Christopher Kent, the Reserve Bank of Australia's assistant governor, said prospects for stronger growth in nominal demand from the mining states were brightening, which would help in normalising Australia's stubbornly below-target inflation.

Mining stocks rallied as the price of Dalian iron ore soared to hit the 9 per cent trade limit.

The ASX 300 Metals and Mining Index rose to an almost two-year high, as much as 2.44 per cent, where index heavyweights Rio Tinto Ltd and Fortescue Metals Group gained 2.5 per cent and 2.9 per cent respectively.

Shares of mining giant BHP Billiton, hit a 15-month high, up as much as 2.97 per cent.

New Zealand's benchmark S&P/NZX 50 index edged up 0.5 per cent or 35.06 points to finish the session at 6,851.450.

The benchmark was led by telecom and consumer cyclicals sector with A2 Milk Company and Skycity Entertainment Group leading gains.

Dairy processor A2 Milk Company surged as much as 7.8 per cent after reporting a 96 per cent jump in revenue in the first four months of FY17 on Tuesday.

Auckland International Airport rose 2.4 per cent after reporting a 12.7 per cent surge in domestic passengers because of the increased capacity on main trunk and regional services from both Air New Zealand and Jetstar.