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Australia shares rise as materials shine, NZ down for fourth day


[BENGALURU] Australian shares rose on Monday led by material stocks, thanks to strong gains in gold and base metal prices and Wall Street's ascent to record closing highs.

The S&P/ASX 200 index rose 0.1 per cent, or seven points to 6077.1 at the close of trade. The benchmark had risen 0.04 per cent on Friday.

Australia's mining sector rose as much as 1.6 per cent to hit a near five-year high.

Mining giant BHP drove the gains on the benchmark, rising as much as 2 per cent to hit a more-than-three-year high, while South32 Ltd rose as much as 3.6 per cent hitting a record high.

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Meanwhile, gold stocks were also in the black, rising 3.8 per cent to hit a more-than-one-year high, buoyed by a weak dollar that slumped to three-year lows against a basket of currencies.

Gold miners Regis Resources rose over 3 per cent while Northern Star Resources was up 4.5 per cent.

The country's financial index was up marginally with Commonwealth Bank of Australia leading the gains rising 0.4 per cent and Australia and New Zealand Banking Group climbing 0.5 per cent.

In telecommunications sector, Internet services provider Vocus Group rose nearly 1 per cent after the company said it would separate its enterprise and wholesale arm of its Australian business into two operating segments.

On the downside, energy stocks fell 0.8 per cent as rising drilling activity in the United States pointed to a higher output in future, with Origin Energy slipping 1.8 per cent and Oil Search falling 1.3 per cent.

Across the Tasman Sea, New Zealand's benchmark S&P/NZX 50 index fell 0.4 per cent or 30.98 points to finish the session at 8211.37, its lowest in over five weeks. The index fell for its fourth straight session.

Industrials and healthcare stocks led the losses on the benchmark with Auckland International Airport Ltd falling 1.4 per cent, while medical device maker Fisher & Paykel Healthcare Corp losing 0.8 per cent.

Meanwhile, Fletcher Building was the top gainer on the index, rising 1.7 per cent.


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