Australia shares rise, NZ at record high on China, U.S. factory indicators
* Mining stocks close at highest since Sept. 2011
* RBA says labour market strong, holds rates steady
* BHP says iron ore output to fall by 6-8 mln tonnes after
* Fortescue closes at over 10-year peak
(Updates to close)
April 2 (Reuters) - Australian shares closed higher on
Tuesday, after positive U.S. and China factory activity data
fuelled risk sentiment and eased concerns about a global
economic slowdown, with New Zealand closing at a record high.
The S&P/ASX 200 index rose 0.41 percent, or 25.40
points, to 6,242.40 at the close of trade. The benchmark rose
0.6 percent on Monday.
Wall Street rallied on Monday, after strong factory activity
data in China and the United States coupled with progress in
trade talks between the two countries cheered investors.
"China data was significant as it showed one of the
important growth engines is still working," said Damian Rooney,
director of equity sales at Argonaut. "The U.S. markets have
taken the positives out of a mixed data."
Highlighting a strong labour market, the Reserve Bank of
Australia (RBA) held interest rates steady, showing no immediate
inclination to echo the marked dovish tone that other central
banks have adopted recently.
Largely driving gains, financial stocks rose for a
fifth straight session, with National Australia Bank Ltd
and Westpac Banking Corp up 0.3 percent and
0.5 percent, respectively.
The mining sub-index closed at its highest since
September 2011, after China's iron ore futures jumped to a
record high with recent news supporting a tight supply outlook.
BHP Group Ltd said initial estimates showed its
iron ore production would take a hit of about 6 million to 8
million tonnes after cyclone Veronica affected its operations.
The news follows rival Rio Tinto Ltd's move on
Monday to cut its 2019 outlook for iron ore shipments from
Pilbara region due to the cyclone.
Shares of BHP and Rio Tinto retreated from their respective
near eight-year and more than 10-year highs touched earlier in
the session, closing 0.1 percent and 1.1 percent lower,
However, Fortescue Metals Group ended 3 percent
higher at its highest close in more than 10 years, after it
earlier said its mining operations were unaffected by the
Energy stocks also rose after oil prices hit 2019
highs, with Woodside Petroleum Ltd and Santos Ltd
New Zealand's benchmark S&P/NZX 50 index rose for a
sixth straight day, ending up 1.06 percent or 104.44 points to
finish the session at 9,958.35, a record high.
Fonterra Shareholders' Fund and a2 Milk Company Ltd
were among top gainers, rising 3 percent and 2 percent,
(Reporting by Rashmi Ashok in Bengaluru, Additional reporting
by Aby Jose Koilparambil; Editing by Sam Holmes)
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