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Australia shares on track for six-day winning streak; NZ up

[SYDNEY] Australian shares climbed for a sixth straight session on Wednesday and touched a five-month high, shrugging off a dip in base metal prices and taking their cues from US stocks, which rose overnight.

The S&P/ASX 200 index rose 0.2 per cent, or 11.288 points to 5,900.9, by 0045 GMT. The benchmark ended up 0.7 per cent on Tuesday.

Industrials, healthcare and financials stocks led the gains on the index.

"The Australian markets are looking a little bit stretched today. With very little activity overnight and an overbought relative strength index, we'd have expected it to have had a pause or pullback," said Kurt Mayell, Asian equity hedge analyst at CMC Markets Asia Pacific Pty Ltd.

"But it seems traders are happy to continue buying this momentum."

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Supply chain logistics company Brambles Ltd was the biggest gainer on the industrials index and among the top gainers on the main index, rising as much as 3.9 per cent to an eight-week high after it posted 6 per cent jump in first-quarter sales revenue.

Australia's healthcare stocks gained as much as 0.6 per cent to its highest in more than three months, with Mayne Pharma Group Ltd and Healthscope Ltd up as much as 2.1 per cent and 0.9 per cent, respectively.

Financials shot up as much as 0.3 per cent, its highest since July 28, mostly boosted by smaller banks as three of the "Big Four" slipped between 0.1 per cent and 0.4 per cent.

"The banks seem to be getting more interest in smaller financials with the likes of Bendigo trading a little higher and IOOF trading strongly having successfully completed its institutional placement to help fund its ANZ wealth purchase," said Mr Mayell.

Meanwhile, New Zealand's benchmark S&P/NZX 50 index also edged higher, up 0.2 per cent, or 13.75 points, to 8,125.8, supported by telecoms, industrials and healthcare stocks.

Global dairy prices slumped for the second time in a row at an auction held early on Wednesday, suggesting an earlier rally was running out of steam.


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