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Australia: Shares reach a near 1-month high


[SYDNEY] Australian shares rose for a second day on Tuesday to near 1-month highs, led by banks and miners, after Wall Street rallied overnight.

The S&P/ASX 200 index climbed 43.8 points to 5,194.3 by 0140 GMT, coming off an intraday high of 5,220, a level not seen since Sept 10. The benchmark rose 2 per cent on Monday.

The index hit a two-year trough late last month on concerns about global growth and on rising uncertainty about China. It has since gained about 6 per cent.

For the year, the benchmark is still down about 4 per cent and a new Reuters Poll shows the index will likely end 2015 around current levels - marking its first annual loss since 2011. "The ASX has been sold off heavily in recent periods. There's some good deals in the market and sentiment has calmed in global markets for the time being," said IG Markets analyst Angus Nicholson.

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However, with questions on whether the Fed will finally raise interest rates in December and about China's potential to surprise on the downside, investors will trade cautiously, Mr Nicholson added. "There will be a limit to the rally," he said.

Technical analysts expect some selling pressure to emerge around 5,200 point - a key resistance level while 5,000 continued to remain a crucial support.

Investors await the Reserve Bank of Australia's monetary policy meeting later in the day where the central bank is expected to hold rates at a record low 2.0 per cent.

All bank shares rose, with Commonwealth Bank and Westpac up 1.3 per cent each. Miners BHP Billiton and Rio Tinto gained around 2.8 per cent each.

Mining services provider Macmohan Holdings jumped 15 per cent after announcing a share buyback.

For more individual stocks activity click on New Zealand's benchmark NZX 50 index rallied 0.8 per cent or 46.41 points to 5,676.95.

New Zealand's state-run pension fund and infrastructure investor Infratil leapt nearly 3 per cent, having plumbed an eight-month low last week. Mighty River rose 1.8 per cent and Contact Energy 1.4 per cent.

Shares in Fonterra's fund, which gives investors exposure to the farmer-owned dairy exporter, dropped 2.5 per cent after some felt the trade agreement between 12 Asia-Pacific was below expectations for the milk industry. "I am very disappointed that the deal falls far short of (the) original ambition to eliminate all tariffs," said Fonterra Chairman John Wilson.