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Australia: Shares rise on trade deal optimism; NZ markets gain

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Australian shares rebounded on Thursday, in line with Wall Street peers, after US President Donald Trump eased investor concerns saying talks with China on the interim trade deal were going "very well".

[BENGALURU] Australian shares rebounded on Thursday, in line with Wall Street peers, after US President Donald Trump eased investor concerns saying talks with China on the interim trade deal were going "very well".

The S&P/ASX 200 index jumped almost 1 per cent to 6,664.20 by 0025 GMT. The benchmark had declined about 3.7 per cent over the past two sessions.

After roiling global markets earlier this week by raising the prospect of extended trade tensions between the world's top two economies, Mr Trump said at a meeting of NATO leaders near London that "discussions are going very well and we'll see what happens".

Uncertainty persists over the US stance in relation to new tariffs on Chinese imports taking effect on Dec 15, but investors tend to cheer any hint of positiveness on resolution to the trade dispute. The issue has marred markets for about one-and-a-half years and fuelled global growth concerns.

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"This change of (Mr Trump's) tone comes after China warned the US that it would retaliate if the US takes a tougher stance on how China treats its Muslim Uighur community,' said ANZ Research analysts in a note.

After sustaining two bruising sessions, all major sector-based sub-indexes on the benchmark rose, with the high-profile financial and mining stocks advancing more than a percent each.

Three of the "Big Four" lenders gained between 1 per cent and 1.6 per cent despite New Zealand central bank announcing it would go ahead with plans to increase capital ratio requirements for banks, a move that is expected to hurt the bottom line of top Australian lenders who dominate the domestic market there.

Australia's No. 4 retail bank Australia and New Zealand Banking Group continued to be on a trading halt, requested ahead of the New Zealand central bank statement.

In the mining space, diversified players and index heavyweights BHP Group and Rio Tinto gained up to 1.7 per cent and 1.3 per cent, respectively.

The advancements in the duo were also aided by extended gains in iron ore futures after data showed shipments from Brazil dropped last week.

The energy index also put on more than 1 per cent, lifted by a more than 3 per cent jump in oil prices on expectations that Opec and allied producers would extend production curbs amid large drop in US domestic crude stockpiles.

Woodside Petroleum and Oil Search climbed about 2 per cent and 1.5 per cent, respectively.

However, the only energy firm to fall among benchmark constituents was Whitehaven Coal after the country's largest independent coal miner cut its full year 2020 managed run of mine coal production outlook.

Across the Tasman Sea, New Zealand's benchmark S&P/NZX 50 index rose 0.5 per cent to 11,266.17.

Investment holding firm Infratil Ltd was the top percentage gainer on the New Zealand benchmark, gaining more than 2 per cent after its unit Tilt Renewables said it would sell its Snowtown 2 Wind Farm for A$472 million (S$440 million).

Tilt rose up to about 9 per cent to hit a record high on the news.

REUTERS