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Australia: Shares rise ahead of US Fed's rate decision


[SYDNEY] Australian shares rose 1.5 per cent on Thursday for a second straight day of gains as all sectors rallied ahead of the US Fed's interest rate decision later in the day.

Banks and miners were among the clear winners with the "Big Four" lenders rising more than 2 per cent in early trade. A jump in oil prices pushed energy stocks higher.

The S&P/ASX 200 index added 73.83 points to 5,172.7 by 0215 GMT. The index closed 1.6 per cent higher on Wednesday, and is on track to post a second straight weekly gain.

Analysts said the market could claw back some of the day's gain as the near-month futures contract expires on Thursday and could add some volatility.

Asian stocks hit a three-week high on Thursday after a jump in oil prices lifted Wall Street, with many investors taking last-minute positions ahead of the Fed's policy decision.

Major banks Westpac, ANZ and NAB each gained more than 2 per cent while Commonwealth Bank was up 1.34 per cent.

Mining giant BHP Billiton jumped 2.84 per cent while Rio Tinto rose 1.93 perc ent.

Newcrest Mining rose as much as 5.9 per cent after a rise in gold prices.

Energy stocks forged higher with Woodside Petroleum and Santos Ltd both rising by more than 3 per cent.

For more individual stocks' activity click on New Zealand's benchmark NZX50 share index rose 0.66 per cent or 37.87 points to 5,705.840 on Thursday, supported by gains in the material and consumer sectors.

Dual-listed shares rose, tracking strong gains in the Australian sharemarket, with auction website Trade Me up 4.46 per cent, Fletcher Building up 3.03 percent, and Sky Network Television up 2.08 per cent.

Meridian Energy fell 1.35 per cent, reversing gains from a rally the previous session. Z Energy edged down 0.3 per cent, extending losses that began early this week when a rival asked regulators for Z Energy to sell assets as a condition of a planned deal to take over Chevron New Zealand.


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