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Australia shares up on positive China data, Beach Energy; NZ flat

[BENGALURU] Australian shares rose on Monday as strong leads from Wall Street in its previous session and positive factory data from China over the weekend boosted sentiment overall sentiment.

The S&P/ASX 200 index rose 66.99 points, or 1.2 per cent, to 5,747 by 0053 GMT, its biggest intraday gain since July 13, in thin trade as Sydney was closed for a public holiday. A number of other Asia Pacific markets are closed for holidays on Monday while China is closed for a week-long break.

"The global story has been one of growth and growth recovery, with low inflation and relatively low bond yields supporting equity markets," said Damien Hennessy of Heuristic Investment Systems in Melbourne.

"Australia hasn't been participating in that as much largely because of the lack of earnings growth. So, unless there is some external shock, local shares have to catch up a little bit with global markets."

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Data on Saturday showed that China, Australia's biggest trading partner, saw manufacturing activity growing at the fastest pace since 2012 in September as factories cranked up output to take advantage of strong demand and high prices, easing worries of a slowdown.

Beach Energy was the best index performer, soaring as much as 19.4 per cent in its first trading session after acquiring assets, including Lattice energy, from Origin Energy for US$1.25 billion last week. Beach posted its biggest intraday gain since October 2004.

Material stocks drove the gains on the benchmark with BHP Billiton, Rio Tinto and Fortescue Metals gaining between 1.3 per cent and 2.2 per cent. The material index jumped 1.6 per cent.

Meanwhile, financial stocks rose with the "Big 4" banks gaining between one to 1.4 per cent.

New Zealand's benchmark S&P/NZX 50 index rose 0.03 per cent, or 2.32 points to 7,932.72, cutting losses from earlier in the session.

Consumer stocks A2 Milk and Sanford Ltd contributed most to the gains up 4.4 per cent and 3.9 per cent respectively.

REUTERS