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Australia: Shares rise on RBA governor's upbeat assessment of economy


[SYDNEY] Australian shares rose 0.5 per cent, recovering from early losses on Friday following optimistic remarks from the central bank about the economy, although global growth concerns capped a strong rally after the US Federal Reserve left rates unchanged.

RBA Governor Glenn Stevens gave an upbeat assessment of the economy, noting he was satisfied with the current monetary policy setting and comfortable with the level of the Australian dollar.

The S&P/ASX 200 index rose 28.18 points to 5,175.0 by 0227 GMT. The benchmark rose 0.94 per cent on Thursday. The index is on track to post a second straight week of gains. "The key issue here is the market is trying to digest the signal that the Fed has made. And that is, it's a bit too risky to lift rates right now," said Damien Hennessy, co-founder, Heurisic Investment Systems.

Banks led the rally with Commonwealth Bank, NAB and ANZ up 0.7 per cent each.

Gold miner Newcrest Mining jumped 6.52 per cent helped by a near two-week high gold price. (ID: nL4N11O134) Majors miners BHP Billiton and Rio Tinto were down about 0.3 pe rcent each.

Energy-related shares were a mixed bag with LNG up 0.3 per cent while Origin Energy fell 1.2 per cent.

China, a major market for Australia, remained in focus after the Shanghai Composite Index opened 0.5 per cent higher.

Referring to the global outlook, US Fed Chair Janet Yellen said the central bank was focusing on the slowdown in China and emerging markets. (ID:nL4N11N5SH) "There is a lot of uncertainty around at the moment in relation to the global growth outlook particularly as far as China is impacting," Hennessy said.

For more individual stocks click on New Zealand's benchmark NZX50 share index rallied to four-week highs on Friday, underpinned by gains in utilities and industrial sectors.

Trading, however, was cautious following mixed results on Wall Street after the Federal Reserve held off on raising interest rates.

Major electricity and gas distributor Vector rose 1.25 per cent, while Meridian Energy added 0.7 per cent. Telecom operator Spark bounced 1.1 per cent higher, trimming the previous session's losses after it announced taking on new debt.

The index edged up 0.3 per cent, or 15.71 points, to 5,709.940. It briefly touched 5,718.72, its highest since late August and was poised to show a gain of around 1 per cent for the week.


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