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Australian shares end at 1-month high as Sino-US trade talks lift mood; NZ rises


[BENGALURU] Australian shares ended a three-day losing streak to close at a one-month high on Thursday, as confirmation of US-China trade talks cheered investors, while soaring crude oil prices powered energy stocks.

The S&P/ASX 200 index closed up 0.9 per cent at 6,613.2 points. The benchmark fell 0.3 per cent on Wednesday.

Oil prices, which had risen more than 4 per cent overnight and dipped slightly in early Asian trade, rebounded after China and the United States agreed to hold high-level trade talks in early October in Washington.

China's commerce ministry also said its trade team will consult with their US counterparts in mid-September in preparation for the meeting.

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Leadings gains on the benchmark index, energy stocks jumped 1.4 per cent, with its biggest player Woodside Petroleum marking its best day in over two months, while engineering services provider WorleyParsons added 4.1 per cent.

Financial stocks also provided a boost to the local benchmark, rising 1 per cent to a more than three-week high. The country's "Big Four" banks gained between 0.7 per cent and 1.1 per cent.

But Australian-listed shares of British lender CYBG Plc slumped 20.3 per cent, making it the top decliner on the benchmark index, after the company said it expected to increase provisions for legacy payment protection insurance costs.

The mining sector closed marginally higher as gains were capped by a 0.7 per cent fall in shares of BHP Group, the mining sub-index's largest constituent and the country's biggest firm by market value, as it traded ex-dividend.

Amid an overall improvement is risk appetite, gold miners lost their sheen due to the reduced safe-haven demand for the precious metal.

Top gold miners Newcrest Mining and St Barbara shed 0.7 per cent and 2.2 per cent, respectively.

Across the Tasman Sea, New Zealand's benchmark S&P/NZX 50 index advanced 0.9 per cent to finish at 11,106.67.

Electricity retailer Meridian Energy and Vital Healthcare Property Trust were the top performers on the benchmark, strengthening 3 per cent each.