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Australia shares rise on lead from Wall Street; NZ up

[BENGALURU] Australian shares rose on Wednesday, tracking a record close on Wall Street as investors were drawn to riskier assets after concerns over the impact of Hurricane Irma and North Korea tensions eased.

"In the US we had a bit of unwinding of the fear trade that it's been going through and that's flowing through to us as well," said Mathan Somasundaram, a market portfolio strategist with Blue Ocean Equities.

The benchmark S&P/ASX 200 index rose 0.4 per cent, or 21.3 points to 5767.7 by 0234 GMT, adding to a 0.6 per cent gain in the previous session.

Financial stocks led the gainers with Commonwealth Bank of Australia up as much as 1.4 per cent after Australia's prudential regulator said that money-laundering accusations levelled at the bank had not affected its depositors.

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The other 'big four' banks gained around 0.9 per cent each following a strong lead from Wall Street's financial index that climbed 1.2 per cent.

Miners BHP Billiton and Rio Tinto gained as much as 1.8 per cent and 1.7 per cent respectively as steel and iron ore futures in China advanced, regaining some lost ground after a five-day retreat.

Rio Tinto hit A$70 a share, the highest in three-and-a-half years.

Data released earlier in the day showed that consumer sentiment bounced modestly in September as worries over family finances warred with growing optimism about the economic outlook.

The survey showed that consumer sentiment rose 2.5 per cent in September, from August when it dropped 1.2 per cent.

New Zealand's benchmark S&P/NZX 50 index was little changed, adding 0.02 per cent, or 1.55 points, to 7841.96 as investors await Thursday's manufacturing PMI data.

Spark New Zealand Ltd gained as much as 1.2 per cent while Ryman Healthcare Ltd rose as much as 0.9 per cent.

Among the losers Mercury NZ slid as much as 3.2 per cent to a one month low, while Air New Zealand also lost as much as 3.2 per cent its lowest in three weeks.

REUTERS