Australia, New Zealand shares climb after Yellen’s rate remarks

(Updates to close)

July 13 (Reuters) – Australian shares finished higher on
Thursday, tracking gains on Wall Street after U.S. Federal
Reserve chief Janet Yellen signalled only a gradual tightening
of monetary policy.

The S&P/ASX 200 index, recovering Wednesday’s
losses, rose 1.1 percent, or 62.97 points, to 5,736.80.

The benchmark closed at a three-week low in the previous
session, falling nearly 1 percent to 5,673.8 – the second time
this month it dropped below the psychologically important 5,700
level.

The Dow rose to a record high after Yellen’s less
hawkish than expected congressional testimony was seen as a
green light for Wall Street to step up riskier trades.

Australia’s financial index rose nearly 1 percent
though U.S. counterparts, which tend to benefit from
higher rates, were last among sectors, closing up 0.1 percent.

The biggest banks by market value, Commonwealth Bank of
Australia and Westpac Banking Corp, were among
the top gainers on the benchmark by weight, up 1.9 percent and
0.5 percent respectively.

Biotherapeutics firm CSL Ltd was also among the top
performers with its near 3 percent ascent helping the healthcare
index have its best day since mid-January.

New Zealand’s benchmark S&P/NZX 50 index ended up
0.3 percent at 7,610.89, aided by industrial and healthcare
shares.

Auckland International Airport and Fischer & Paykel
Healthcare Corp were the benchmark’s biggest gainers,
1.5 percent and 1 percent higher respectively.
(Reporting by Rushil Dutta in Bengaluru; Editing by Richard
Borsuk)


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