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Australia shares take US-China trade tariffs in stride; NZ at record high
[BENGALURU] Australian shares ended higher on Friday, led by gains in the financial sector and a stronger overnight lead from Wall Street, while the US's imposition of tariffs on Chinese goods appeared to have no notable negative impact on sentiment.
The bounced Chinese shares probably helped as markets there have taken a beating over recent sessions over the trade war fears.
The S&P/ASX 200 index rose 0.9 per cent or 56.8 points to 6,272.3 at the close of trade. The index gained 1.3 per cent for the week.
Wall Street stocks ended higher overnight on reports that the United States and the European Union might agree to drop car tariffs. US tariffs on more than 800 goods from China worth US$34 billion took effect at 0401 GMT, though as investors have already priced in the news, markets appeared to move on.
Financial stocks led gains, with the sector index ending 1.2 per cent higher and 2 per cent up for the week. Commonwealth Bank of Australia was the biggest boost to the benchmark, ending 1.6 percent up.
The stronger showing for banks came despite regulatory scrutiny about their pension products, as the Australian Securities and Investments Commission took aim at CBA and Australia and New Zealand Banking Group.
ANZ ended about 1.7 per cent higher.
Greg McKenna, chief market strategist at AxiTrader said the steady policy by the Reserve Bank of Australia, coupled with the "Big Four" banks' strong fundamentals, made financials a "value buy" given their recent share price declines.
Material stocks provided the next biggest boost to the index, led chiefly by a recovery in miners. The metals and mining index ended the day higher, but lost ground for the week. BHP was the biggest contributor to the sector, up 0.9 per cent.
Mining stocks took a beating over the week as commodity prices tanked on global trade tensions.
In New Zealand, shares shrugged off early losses to end at a record high, led by materials and healthcare stocks.
The benchmark S&P/NZX 50 index added 0.23 per cent or 21.2 points, to finish at a record 9,084.04. The benchmark gained 1.6 per cent for the week.