Australia shares rally after Dow hits record; NZ edges up

By Shashwat Pradhan

July 4 (Reuters) – Australian shares jumped on Tuesday in a
broad-based rally driven by financials, after the Dow hit an
intraday record high overnight, with a rise in oil prices
boosting sentiment.

The S&P/ASX 200 index rose 91.314 points or 1.6
percent to 5,775.8 by 0200 GMT.

All the sectors on the benchmark were in the black, with
advancing issues outnumbering declining ones by a 9.4-to-1
ratio.

The S&P 500 and the Dow Jones Industrial Average
rose on Monday as energy and bank stocks climbed.

In Australia, financials drove the gains on the benchmark,
with Westpac, Commonwealth Bank of Australia,
National Australia Bank and Australia New Zealand
Banking Group all up more than 1.9 percent.

“We have got a strong lead from Wall Street and the
financials performed very strongly in the overnight session so
that has translated into a good response from Aussie
financials,” said Ben Le Brun, a market analyst at
OptionsXpress, an electronic trading platform provider.

Aussie lenders were also buoyed by news that opposition
lawmakers in the state of South Australia vowed to block a
state-based bank tax, a win for the lenders left reeling when
the government unexpectedly unveiled a levy in its annual budget
to raise revenues.

Meanwhile, energy stocks saw strong support after oil rose
more than 2 percent on Monday, resuming its longest stretch of
daily gains in more than five years after data pointed to a
reduction in U.S. output.

Among the energy stocks, Beach Energy advanced 2.5
percent, while Caltex Australia Ltd was up 2.1 percent.

In other commodities, Chinese steel futures climbed more
than 3 percent on Monday to their highest since March, supported
by a strong demand in the world’s top producer and data showing
a recovery in China’s manufacturing activity.

BHP Billiton Ltd climbed 2.8 percent, while Rio
Tinto Ltd gained as much as 2.4 percent to hit a
six-week high.

New Zealand’s benchmark S&P/NZX 50 index climbed 0.3
percent or 24.46 points to 7,612.89.

A survey revealed that New Zealand business confidence was
broadly steady in the second quarter of 2017 but a smaller
number of firms intended to raise prices, reinforcing the
central bank’s determination to keep interest rates on
hold.

The gains on the index were driven by Spark New Zealand
, which rose as much as 3 percent to record its biggest
intraday percentage gain since April 12.

Air New Zealand was the other big gainer, rising
2.7 percent to scale a near 16-year high.

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(Reporting By Shashwat Pradhan in Bengaluru; additional
reporting by Hanna Paul; Editing by Amrutha Gayathri)

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