Australia shares end at near 8-month peak; NZ hits all-time high
* Oil hits near 2019 highs
* NZ index crosses 10,000 level
* Financials gain for sixth straight session
* Gold miners hold back Aussie benchmark
(Updates to close)
April 23 (Reuters) - Australian shares ended at a near
8-month peak on Tuesday, bolstered by gains in banking and
energy stocks, while New Zealand closed at a record high.
The S&P/ASX 200 index closed up 1 percent, or 59.60
points, at 6,319.40. The benchmark had added about 0.1 percent
Energy stocks extended gains as trading resumed
after Easter holidays, jumping 2.5 percent as oil prices touched
near 2019 highs after Washington announced all Iran sanction
waivers would end by May.
The move to tighten Iran sanctions comes amid other curbs
Washington has placed on Venezuela's oil exports and as producer
club OPEC has led supply cuts since the start of the year to
support crude prices.
The energy sector has been among top performers in Australia
this year, rising 19 percent.
Oil and gas players Santos Ltd and Origin Energy
Ltd rose 3.1 percent and 3.6 percent, respectively.
Financials, the largest sector in the benchmark,
advanced 1.1 percent, extending their winning streak to a sixth
The Aussie dollar stands to gain as China's economic outlook
is relatively stable and commodity prices are strong, said
Mathan Somasundaram, a Blue Ocean Equities market portfolio
"That kind of higher currency means the banks tend to move
higher as well," he added.
Commonwealth Bank of Australia, Westpac Banking
Corp and Australia and New Zealand Banking Group
gained more than 1 percent each.
However, gold miners held back the benchmark as Australia's
main gold index fell 1 percent to close at its lowest in
nearly two months.
Gold was outperforming due to trade war worries and concerns
about global slowdown, but strong data from China and the United
States calmed some of those concerns. So, gold is going into a
seasonal weak period, added Somasundaram.
Newcrest Mining and Evolution Mining
slipped 1.5 percent each.
New Zealand's benchmark S&P/NZX 50 index rose 0.5
percent to close at an all-time high of 10,004.84. The index had
fallen 0.2 percent on Thursday.
Heavyweight a2 Milk Company climbed 2.4 percent,
while Fisher & Paykel Healthcare jumped 3.1 percent.
(Reporting by Mensholong Lepcha; additional reporting by Aditya
Soni; Editing by Shreejay Sinha)
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