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Australian shares end losing run as banks, energy firms bounce; NZ up 2%


[BENGALURU] Australian shares advanced on Tuesday, putting an end to eight consecutive days of losses as investors bought into beaten-down banks and as energy stocks firmed on higher oil prices.

The S&P/ASX 200 index rose 0.6 per cent or 38 points to 6,179.7 at the close, after giving up 2.1 points on Monday.

Banks supported the mild recovery on the day, having lost about 3.5 per cent in the past eight sessions versus broad market declines of about 3.4 per cent in the same period.

Index heavyweight Commonwealth Bank of Australia firmed 1.6 per cent and was the biggest boost to the benchmark, while investment bank Macquarie Group Ltd rose 1.8 per cent.

Earlier in the day, Macquarie said it expects group's fiscal year 2019 result to be broadly in line with fiscal 2018.

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A jump in oil prices on looming US sanctions against Iran boosted demand for local energy stocks which jumped 2.1 per cent and supported the broader market.

New South Wales-based Whitehaven Coal Ltd was among the top gainers as it jumped 3.7 per cent to a near four-week high, while Origin Energy Ltd rose 3.2 per cent to its highest since Aug 29.

Elsewhere, healthcare stocks fell, capping the gains on the benchmark.

Shares of Drugmaker CSL Ltd, which were trading ex-dividend, fell 0.7 per cent to a four-week low, while Australian shares of California-based Resmed slipped 0.8 per cent.

Medical device maker Fisher & Paykel Healthcare said it had filed a patent infringement complaint against Resmed, alleging it infringed five of its patents related to sleep apnea devices.

In New Zealand, the benchmark S&P/NZX 50 index rose about 2 per cent or 176.940 points to finish the session at 9.225.57.

Dairy firm a2 Milk Company Ltd accounted for most of the gains as it surged 4.9 per cent, while teleco Spark New Zealand Ltd firmed 3.6 per cent to its highest in more than twelve years.


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