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Australia shares rise as investors bet on Clinton win, NZ inches up

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[BENGALURU] Australian shares edged higher on Tuesday, supported by a surge on Wall Street as Hillary Clinton's prospects in the US presidential election brightened, while copper prices leaped to an eight-month high.

The S&P/ASX 200 index rose 0.2 per cent or 12.301 points to 6,920.180 by 1247 GMT, on track for its second consecutive gain.

Mrs Clinton's chances improved after the FBI declared, two days before the election, that no criminal charges were warranted against Mrs Clinton over the use of a private email server.

The Democratic nominee led Republican rival Donald Trump by 6 percentage points among likely voters in a Monmouth University poll released on Monday.

Market voices on:

Mr Trump's stance on foreign policy, immigration and trade worried markets - in contrast to Mrs Clinton's reputation as a "status quo" candidate.

"The markets see greater chances of Clinton winning the election but there is no certainty, and if Trump wins there would be a big risk- off move," said Ric Spooner, market strategist at CMC Markets.

Market sentiment was supported by soaring copper prices, which were the highest since March, along with nickel which jumped the most in five years on Monday.

Basic materials dominated gains with the ASX 300 Metals and Mining Index rising more than 2 per cent.

Miner BHP Billiton gained 2.8 per cent while Rio Tinto and South32 edged up 2 per cent and 2.4 per cent respectively.

The ASX 200 Energy index moved almost one per cent higher with Whitehaven Coal Ltd and WorleyParsons Ltd leading gains.

Commonwealth Bank of Australia, the country's biggest bank by market value, fell nearly one per cent after reporting flat first quarter cash earnings as higher funding costs tightened its margins.

The dissappointing results follow flat and declining cash earnings reported by other "Big Four" banks over the last two weeks.

Explosives and fertiliser maker Incitec Pivot fell 0.8 per cent after it reported a 26 per cent drop in annual underlying profit on Tuesday.

New Zealand's benchmark S&P/NZX 50 index edged up 0.7 per cent or 52.350 points to 6,925 by 1236 GMT, extending gains into a second consecutive session.

Industrials and healthcare stocks were the biggest gainers with both Auckland International Airport and Fisher and Paykel Healthcare Corporation Ltd up almost 3 per cent.