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Australia: Shares make modest gains after heavy selloff; NZ rises

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[BENGALURU] Australian shares edged up on Friday as investors picked up stocks battered by the previous session's heavy selloff, particularly in the financial and metals sectors.

The S&P/ASX 200 index gained 0.21 per cent to 5,677.20 by 0040 GMT but the benchmark is set to post a more than 4 per cent loss for the week.

US stocks rebounded after the massive sell-off, with strong earnings encouraging investors to venture into risky bets. However, sentiment was dented after-market when big names Alphabet Inc and Amazon.com Inc reported disappointing numbers.

Despite heavy losses over the week, the Aussie benchmark looks set to snap a five-session losing run and end a dismal week with a daily gain.

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"It is a combination of bargain hunting and a purely snapback rally. We had a tough October in global markets and it is not going to change in the short term," said Damian Rooney, director of equity sales at Argonaut.

The metals and mining and financials indexes rose as much as 1 per cent each.

New Century Resources and Fortescue Metals Group were among the top percentage gainers in the metals category, rising as much as 10 per cent and 5.8 per cent, respectively, while financials saw wealth manager AMP up as much as 10.8 per cent.

The metals and mining index had shed about 6 per cent in the past three trading days and is on track to post about a 5 per cent loss for the week.

The financials index had declined more than 3 per cent in Thursday's session alone and is on track to record a more than 4 per cent loss for the week.

Metal stocks were partly spurred by a bounce-back in copper prices after the base metal retreated from two-week lows on a sharp drop in inventories.

Meanwhile, the ASX gold index snapped two sessions of gains to fall as much as 3.6 per cent, with gold prices ending 0.2 per cent lower in Thursday's trading.

"Gold stocks are seeing a bit of profit booking," noted Mr Rooney.

Investors are expected to be cautious as Australian bank earnings kick off next week with Australia and New Zealand Banking Group and National Australia Bank scheduled to report full-year results.

New Zealand's benchmark S&P/NZX 50 index rose 0.5 per cent to 8,610.75 points.

Dairy company a2 Milk Co was among the top percentage gainers on the index, rising as much as 3.1 per cent.

REUTERS