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Australian shares end higher as exporters rally; NZ rises

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[BENGALURU] Australian shares ended higher on Tuesday as export-based stocks rallied on receding fears of a global trade war, while a strong lead from Wall Street further strengthened sentiment.

US stocks rallied on Monday as investors bet against a global trade war as US President Donald Trump faced growing pressure from political and diplomatic allies as well as US companies urging him to pull back from proposed steel and aluminium tariffs.

The S&P/ASX 200 index rose 1.1 per cent or 67.4 points to 5,962.4 at the close of trade. The benchmark ended down 0.6 per cent on Monday.

Australia's central bank left its cash rate at 1.5 per cent on Tuesday, a widely expected decision given policymakers have signalled a steady outlook for some time to come.

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Materials stocks led gains, with miner BHP Billiton giving the index its biggest boost. The stock ended more than 2 per cent higher, pushing up the index some seven points.

The Australian materials index, which largely comprises exporters of minerals and raw materials, ended 1.7 per cent higher.

Oil prices extended gains, underpinned by robust demand forecasts and as Opec ministers hailed the strength of its agreement with global producers to curb output in order to support the market.

Financials took a cue from their Wall Street peers. The finance index ended 0.9 per cent higher, tracking a 1.4 per cent gain in US Financials overnight.

Commonwealth Bank of Australia's gains, the sector's biggest, pushed up the ASX 200 by around four points.

Across the Tasman Sea, New Zealand shares snapped three straight losing sessions, led mainly by healthcare and telecom stocks.

New Zealand's benchmark S&P/NZX 50 index rose 0.58 per cent or 47.83 points to finish the session at 8,327.66 in broad-based gains.

Fisher & Paykel Healthcare Corp ended about 1.1 per cent higher and was the biggest boost to the benchmark, while telecommunications provider Chorus gained the most, ending 2.8 per cent higher.

REUTERS