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Australian shares tick up led by financials, property; NZ flat

[BENGALURU] Australian shares edged up amid thin trade on Tuesday as financials and real estate stocks benefitted from selective buying while material stocks edged lower on weak commodity prices.

The S&P/ASX 200 index rose 0.16 per cent to 5748.3 by 0101 GMT. The benchmark rose 0.5 per cent on Monday.

"There was a rotation yesterday from material stocks into higher yielding bank stocks, which has somewhat continued today with some of the second largest stocks outside of the big banks," said James McGlew, executive director of corporate stock broking for Argonaut in Perth.

The Australian financial index rose around 0.2 per cent, with AMP Ltd and Genworth Mortgage Insurance Australia Ltd leading gains.

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"We're seeing selective buying of stocks today," Mr McGlew added.

On the other hand, mining stocks edged lower, with the metals and mining index falling about 0.3 per cent, with miners BHP Billiton Ltd and Rio Tinto Ltd both edging lower.

Activist investor Elliott has embarked on an international tour of BHP's biggest shareholders as it presses ahead with its campaign to force a radical shake-up of the mining giant, sources familiar with the matter told Reuters.

Iron ore futures fell on signs of weakening demand in China.

Healthcare stocks also edged lower, tracking a weaker lead-in from Wall Street overnight. Medical equipment maker Cochlear Ltd fell about 0.3 per cent, while pharmacy operator Sigma Healthcare Ltd fell nearly 2 per cent.

The S&P healthcare index moved 0.67 per cent lower, weighed by a drop in Medtronic after the medical device maker warned that its quarterly profit would be impacted after Hurricane Maria hit its operations in Puerto Rico.

New Zealand's benchmark S&P/NZX 50 index fell 0.01 per cent or 0.45 points to 8009.8, as gains across industrials and information technology stocks were offset by falling materials and healthcare stocks.

New Zealand electronic retail card spending rose 0.1 per cent in September, while actual sales rose 2.9 per cent from the same month a year ago, Statistics New Zealand said on Tuesday.

Auckland International Airport Ltd rose about one per cent, while Xero Ltd rose about 1.7 per cent.

On the other hand, Fletcher Building Ltd fell about 1.4 per cent, while Ryman Healthcare Ltd shed nearly 2 per cent.

REUTERS