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Australia shares rise, NZ at record high on China, US factory indicators
[BENGALURU] Australian shares closed higher on Tuesday, after positive US and China factory activity data fuelled risk sentiment and eased concerns about a global economic slowdown, with New Zealand closing at a record high.
The S&P/ASX 200 index rose 0.41 per cent, or 25.40 points, to 6,242.40 at the close of trade. The benchmark rose 0.6 per cent on Monday.
Wall Street rallied on Monday, after strong factory activity data in China and the United States coupled with progress in trade talks between the two countries cheered investors.
"China data was significant as it showed one of the important growth engines is still working," said Damian Rooney, director of equity sales at Argonaut. "The US markets have taken the positives out of a mixed data."
Highlighting a strong labour market, the Reserve Bank of Australia (RBA) held interest rates steady, showing no immediate inclination to echo the marked dovish tone that other central banks have adopted recently.
Largely driving gains, financial stocks rose for a fifth straight session, with National Australia Bank Ltd and Westpac Banking Corp up 0.3 per cent and 0.5 per cent, respectively.
The mining sub-index closed at its highest since September 2011, after China's iron ore futures jumped to a record high with recent news supporting a tight supply outlook.
BHP Group Ltd said initial estimates showed its iron ore production would take a hit of about six million to eight million tonnes after cyclone Veronica affected its operations.
The news follows rival Rio Tinto Ltd's move on Monday to cut its 2019 outlook for iron ore shipments from Pilbara region due to the cyclone.
Shares of BHP and Rio Tinto retreated from their respective near eight-year and more than 10-year highs touched earlier in the session, closing 0.1 per cent and 1.1 per cent lower, respectively.
However, Fortescue Metals Group ended 3 per cent higher at its highest close in more than 10 years, after it earlier said its mining operations were unaffected by the cyclone.
Energy stocks also rose after oil prices hit 2019 highs, with Woodside Petroleum Ltd and Santos Ltd both rising.
New Zealand's benchmark S&P/NZX 50 index rose for a sixth straight day, ending up 1.06 per cent or 104.44 points to finish the session at 9,958.35, a record high.
Fonterra Shareholders' Fund and a2 Milk Company Ltd were among top gainers, rising 3 per cent and 2 per cent, respectively.