Australia shares rise on higher commodity prices; NZ flat

By Sindhu Chandrasekaran

June 28 (Reuters) – Australian shares recouped early losses
to trade higher on Wednesday with miners among the biggest
gainers following a rise in commodity prices.

The S&P/ASX 200 index was up 0.3 percent or 19.7
points to 5,733.90 at 0321 GMT. The benchmark has risen 0.2
percent this month.

Higher commodity prices helped the materials and the energy
sectors as the U.S. dollar took a significant backwards step on
Tuesday after the euro gained, said Ben Le Brun, a market
analyst at OptionsXpress.

The euro rose to a 10-month high after European Central
Bank President Mario Draghi signalled it will reduce stimulus
later this year.

Among commodities, oil rose for the fourth consecutive
session on Tuesday while gold bounced back from a six-week low.

Chinese iron ore prices surged 6 percent to one-month highs
on Tuesday in a late burst of short covering and fresh buying
that lifted steel and raw materials.

Australia’s metals and mining index rose as much as
1.5 percent to a two-week high, on track to extend gains into a
fifth session. Anglo-Australian miners BHP Billiton Ltd
and Rio Tinto Ltd gained 1.8 percent and 1.7 percent
respectively.

South32 Ltd rose 4 percent and Fortescue Metals
Group climbed 3.9 percent.

The financial sector also contributed to the gains on the
benchmark. Insurance Australia Group Ltd rose as much
as 4.8 percent, to a record high, after it upgraded its margin
forecast for full-year 2017.

However, three of the “Big-Four” lenders declined
marginally.

Losses in the industrial sector capped gains on the
benchmark with Transurban Group falling 1.6 percent and
Sydney Airport Holdings declining 1.5 percent.

Though the market largely shrugged off losses on Wall Street
triggered by the delay in a healthcare bill vote in the U.S.
Senate, Australia’s health care sector tracked its U.S. peers
lower.

CSL Ltd dropped 0.6 percent while Ansell Ltd
shed 1.3 percent.

New Zealand’s benchmark S&P/NZX 50 index was off a
marginal 0.04 percent or 2.78 points to 7,623.57.

New Zealand’s central bank said saw the economic growth
outlook as positive, but international uncertainties remained
and the strong housing market was still a risk.

Losses in consumer discretionary shares were offset by the
gains in materials stocks.

Retailer Kathmandu Holdings Ltd and A2 Milk Company
Ltd were the top losers on the index, falling 2.4
percent and 2.2 percent, respectively.

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(Reporting by Sindhu Chandrasekaran in Bengaluru; Additional
reporting by Chris Thomas; Editing by Richard Borsuk)

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