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Australia: Shares up as iron ore rally backs miners, New Zealand lower


[BENGALURU] Australian shares gained on Tuesday and were on track to snap a three-session losing streak with mining major Rio Tinto leading the charge to touch its best level in over a decade, bolstered by firm iron ore prices.

The S&P/ASX 200 index traded 0.5 per cent, or 34.5 points higher, at 6,486.4. The benchmark had closed 4.1 points lower in the previous session.

"We've got commodities and iron ore specifically, but also the global trade concerns that have been really pushing down on the Australian market, they're receding a touch and that's why we are seeing a decent start to the day," said Nick Twidale, chief operating officer at Rakuten Securities Australia.

US President Donald Trump said on Monday that Washington was not ready to make a deal with Beijing but he expected one in the future.

The mining sub-index gained as much as 1.6 per cent hitting its highest in more than a month, taking cues from China's iron ore prices scaling a fresh record on Monday as concerns over supply intensified.

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Rio Tinto notched up as much as 4.8 per cent in its third day in the black, while rival BHP Group added 2.1 per cent.

Energy stocks also featured among commodity sectors that propped up the resource-focused Australian market.

Heavyweights Woodside Petroleum and Santos climbed as much as 1 per cent and 1.5 per cent, respectively.

Financial stocks, with their heavy weightage in the Australian market, gained 0.6 per cent after spending three consecutive sessions in the red.

Australia's "Big Four" banks, considered among the most profitable in the world, advanced between 0.7 per cent and 1.4 per cent.

Traditionally defensive plays such as gold and healthcare did not fare well against a stronger market.

Gold miners Newcrest Mining and Evolution Mining lost 0.8 per cent, each, while big pharma stocks such as CSL also declined as much as 0.7 per cent.

Meanwhile, New Zealand's benchmark S&P/NZX 50 index was 0.5 per cent, or 49.9 points, lower at 10,097.79.

Utilities stocks and healthcare were among the top losers on the main index.

Z Energy declined as much as 1.8 per cent while Fisher & Paykel Healthcare Corporation lost as much as 4.8 per cent, its worst intraday fall in over seven months.

However, Synlait Milk bucked the trend to climb 0.9 per cent after it raised its forecast base milk price for the 2018/2019 season.


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