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Australia shares hit over 11-year high as global trade worries ease; NZ up

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[BENGALURU] Australian shares gained on Tuesday, buoyed by financials and resource-based stocks, as the U.S. decision not to impose tariffs against Mexico eased some concerns about global trade tensions.

The S&P/ASX 200 index closed up 1.6 per cent, or 102.4 points, to 6,546.30, its highest level since December 2007. The benchmark was closed on Monday for a holiday, but gained for a fifth straight trading session.

Mexico on Friday agreed to curb the flow of Central American migrants across the border, leading to the United States suspending the proposed 5 per cent tariffs on Mexican goods.

The US-Mexico agreement eased concerns that the tariff spat would further depress the global economy, and in turn raised hopes that US President Donald Trump might also seal a deal with China.

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Meanwhile, China on Monday said it would boost funding support for major investment projects to support the cooling economy.

The metals and mining index advanced 1.3 per cent boosted by a rise in iron ore and base metal prices.

Global miners BHP Group and Rio Tinto rose 2.3 per cent and 2.6 per cent, respectively, while iron ore miner Fortescue Metals Group added 3.2 per cent.

Financials gained for a fifth straight session, supported by hopes that last week's rate cut by the Reserve Bank of Australia's would shore up the slowing economy.

Investors also expect the US Federal Reserve to speed up rate cuts this year after the shocking US jobs data released on Friday.

Healthcare stocks, which have large exposure to the US market, gained 3.5 per cent to hit a more than nine-month closing high.

Index heavyweight CSL Ltd advanced 4.3 per cent, while medical device maker Cochlear Ltd rose 3 per cent.

Telecom firm Vocus Group gained 8.9 per cent and was among the best performers on the Australian benchmark following a fresh A$3.02 billion offer from AGL Energy .

Gold stocks declined 2 per cent, with Northern Star Resources slipping 4.2 per cent and Regis Resources ending down 4.4 per cent. As risk sentiment improved, gold prices fell on Monday after investors moved away from safe haven assets.

New Zealand's benchmark S&P/NZX 50 index ended up 1.1 per cent or 111.54 points to 10,139.15.

Data released earlier in the day showed the Pacific nation's manufacturing sales volumes rose 2.0 per cent in the first quarter, driven by a lift in volumes of dairy and meat products.

Synlait Milk added 1.1 per cent, while a2 Milk Company rose 3.2 per cent and was the top gainer on the benchmark index.

REUTERS