Australian shares rise on China PMI surprise, mining gains; NZ up
* Aussie benchmark closes at highest since March 7
* Rio Tinto cuts 2019 outlook for iron ore shipments
* Mining stocks rise for fifth straight session
(Updates to close)
April 1 (Reuters) - Australian shares closed at a more than
three-week high on Monday, after brisk Chinese factory surveys
boosted broader investor sentiment, with miners notching strong
gains on firm iron ore prices.
The S&P/ASX 200 index rose 0.59 percent, or 36.3
points, to 6,217.0 at the close of trade. The benchmark was
little changed on Friday.
Sentiment rose after official data on Sunday showed that
factory activity in China, Australia's largest trading partner,
unexpectedly grew for the first time in four months in March,
soothing fears of an economic downturn. On Monday, the
private-sector Caixin survey showed a similar trend.
Wall Street's positive performance on Friday also lent
support, after Beijing said it would continue to suspend
additional tariffs on U.S. vehicles and auto parts after April 1
in a goodwill gesture.
"Positive news and trading on Friday night along with the
release of stronger-than-expected data from China is helping the
local sentiment. The manufacturing outlook in China has lifted
commodity prices," said Michael McCarthy, chief market
strategist at CMC Markets.
Miners rose for a fifth straight session, with
behemoth BHP Group up 1.6 percent and rival Rio Tinto
Ltd gaining 1.8 percent.
Iron ore prices extended gains, boosted by China's factory
surveys and supply concerns after Rio Tinto cut its 2019 output
for iron ore shipments from Pilbara region, due to damage caused
by tropical cyclone Veronica.
Fortescue Metals Group Ltd continued to rise,
ending 4.4 percent higher after a stellar performance in March
where its stock gained 17.3 percent.
Rare earth miner Lynas Corp was among top gainers
in the sub-index, inching closer to the A$2.25 per share offer
from Wesfarmers Ltd, after the conglomerate's CEO said
on Friday the company was still keen on the takeover.
Financial stocks also rose, with all "Big Four"
banks rising. Commonwealth Bank of Australia and
Westpac Banking Corp both rose 0.9 percent.
Meanwhile, gold stocks dipped as demand for the
safe-haven metal fell. The country's top gold miner Newcrest
Mining shed 1.2 percent.
Recovering from early losses, New Zealand's benchmark S&P
NZX 50 index rose 0.09 percent or 8.96 points to finish
the session at 9,853.91.
Air New Zealand Ltd rose 1.8 percent while Fonterra
Shareholders' Fund firmed 1.4 percent.
(Reporting by Rashmi Ashok in Bengaluru; Additional reporting
by Aby Jose Koilparambil; Editing by Sam Holmes)
© 2019 Thomson Reuters. All rights reserved. Reuters content is the intellectual property of Thomson Reuters or its third party content providers. Any copying, republication or redistribution of Reuters content, including by framing or similar means, is expressly prohibited without the prior written consent of Thomson Reuters. Thomson Reuters shall not be liable for any errors or delays in content, or for any actions taken in reliance thereon. "Reuters" and the Reuters Logo are trademarks of Thomson Reuters and its affiliated companies.