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Australian, NZ shares cheered by Sino-US trade optimism

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[BENGALURU] Australian shares advanced on Tuesday on signs that Washington and Beijing had made some headway in resolving a protracted trade row, while miners also benefited from a strong tailwind of higher commodity prices.

The S&P/ASX 200 index tacked on 0.3 per cent, or 19.70 points, to 6,672.20, having ended flat the previous day.

Sentiment improved as China's Vice-Foreign Minister Le Yucheng on Tuesday said the two countries have achieved some progress in their trade talks, a day after US President Donald Trump made equally positive comments on the prospects for ending the dispute.

The mining sub-index rose 1 per cent with BHP Group and Rio Tinto, the largest miners on the benchmark, adding about 1.2 per cent and 1.5 per cent, respectively.

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The uptick was underpinned as supply concerns bolstered prices of iron ore and copper.

Financial stocks got a lift from National Australia Bank adding 0.5 per cent and Australia and New Zealand Banking Group pulling 0.4 per cent ahead.

Wealth manager AMP Ltd jumped 2.3 per cent and closed at a three-week high after its funds management arm announced a US$6.2 billion fundraising.

Energy stocks gained after two sessions of declines as oil prices steadied. Beach Energy added 1.7 per cent, while Viva Energy Group rallied 4.6 per cent.

Elsewhere the business outlook and earnings swayed some of the trading. Among them was Oil Search, which declined 1 per cent after it cuts its 2019 production outlook.

Hearing aid maker Cochlear Ltd tumbled 5.5 per cent as the company flagged a lower earnings per share target at its annual general meeting.

Super Retail Group plunged 8.6 per cent and was the worst performer on the ASX benchmark after the company flagged lower margins from increased promotional activities.

Retail financial services provider McMillan Shakespeare fell 4.3 per cent as it signalled challenging market conditions.

New Zealand's benchmark S&P/NZX 50 index rose 0.3 per cent to 11,090.39.

Fonterra advanced 1.3 per cent, after the dairy giant increased the 2019-2020 guidance range for the price it pays farmers to procure milk. 

REUTERS