Commodity-linked shares push up Australia benchmark; NZ higher too – Economic Times

Australian shares ended higher on Thursday, lifted by commodity and energy-related stocks, though trading volumes were light as many investors kept to the sidelines before this weekend’s Group of 20 meeting in Japan.

Global financial markets hope for a thaw in testy United States-China relations when the presidents of the world’s two biggest economies meet in Osaka on Saturday.

The S&P/ASX 200 index, snapping a two-day losing streak, rose 0.4 per cent to 6,666.30. The benchmark slipped 0.3 per cent on Wednesday.

Mining and energy shares drove Thursday’s gains after the prices of major commodities such as oil and copper overnight hit their highest levels in weeks.

The mining sub-index gained 1.8 per cent, reaching its highest level in nearly eight years.

Rio Tinto and BHP Group ended the day 3.0 per cent and 1.9 per cent higher, respectively, after Dalian iron ore prices surged on Thursday, ending a three-day losing streak.

The energy sub-index was 1.1 per cent higher.

Financial stocks rose 0.6 per cent, with Commonwealth Bank of Australia, the country’s biggest lender, adding 1 percent.

Earlier in the day, CBA said it would review its handling of customer data as part of an agreement with Australia’s information commissioner after the bank admitted to losing records in the past.

Losses in defensive stocks capped gains on the main index after less aggressive signals from the Federal Reserve and hopes of progress in Sino-US relations pushed up US Treasury yields. The yield on Aussie papers also edged up on Thursday.

Real estate stocks Cromwell Property Group, Charter Hall Retail REIT and Stockland Corp were the day’s biggest decliners, down in a range of 4.5 per cent-7.6 per cent.

The healthcare index fell 0.3 per cent, as did sub-index heavyweight CSL Ltd giving away equally.

New Zealand’s benchmark S&P/NZX 50 index ended 0.2 per cent higher at 10,431.22.

Shares of Auckland International Airport, up 2.2 per cent, were the top gainers, followed by Genesis Energy’s 2 per cent advance.