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Australia: Shares rise on Federal Reserve guidance, mining gains; New Zealand up

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Australian shares rose on Thursday, tracking the global stocks rally after the Federal Reserve flagged a more cautious policy path while firm iron ore prices and strong domestic earnings boosted miners and energy stocks.

[BENGALURU] Australian shares rose on Thursday, tracking the global stocks rally after the Federal Reserve flagged a more cautious policy path while firm iron ore prices and strong domestic earnings boosted miners and energy stocks.

Global markets were buoyant after the Fed signalled that its cycle of rate hikes may be at an end, holding interest rates steady and discarding promises of "further gradual increases".

Upbeat results from Boeing and Apple also supported investment sentiment.

"The winds are picking up nicely and we're set well for a pretty good move across the board," Damian Rooney, director of equity sales at Argonaut said, noting Wall Street's buoyant performance and the Fed's dovish commentary.

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"The market today is looking at a goldilocks scenario where interest rates tightening is on hold and there are opportunities for corporates to post pretty good results," he added.

The S&P/ASX 200 index rose 0.3 per cent, or 20.1 points, to 5,906.80 by 0012 GMT. The benchmark rose 0.2 per cent on Wednesday.

Mining stocks extended their rally to a fourth straight day, after hitting their highest level in 8-months in the previous session.

Chinese iron ore futures rose to a near 17-month high on Wednesday, after the world's largest iron ore miner Vale SA said it would cut output and shut certain dams after the disaster in Brazil.

Shares of Fortescue Metals Group jumped to a more than 16-month high after posting a rise in second quarter iron ore shipments, with the introduction of a new mid-grade product offsetting slowing Chinese demand.

Energy stocks also jumped, as oil prices rose on signs from the US government of tightening supply, while concerns of supply disruptions following US sanctions on Venezuela's oil industry.

Oil and gas explorer Beach Energy was the top percentage gainer on the sub-index, rising nearly 9 per cent after it raised production guidance for 2019 fiscal year, supported by better-than-expected output in the first-half of the year.

The country's top electricity and gas retailer Origin Energy was also among top gainers after its Australia Pacific LNG project posted a jump in revenue.

On the other hand, financial stocks edged slightly lower in early trade.

New Zealand's benchmark S&P/NZX 50 index rose 0.7 per cent, or 65.88 points, to 8,991.40.

Dairy giant a2 Milk Co was the top percentage gainer on the kiwi benchmark, rising over 3 per cent, while Fonterra Shareholders' Fund was also up.

REUTERS