Australian shares rise on hopes global trade gloom is easing; NZ edges up
* U.S.-Mexico deal helps ease trade tensions, buoying
* Financials the biggest gainers, amidst inquiry findings
* Material stocks continue to rise on higher commodity
By Nikhil Nainan
Aug 28 (Reuters) - Australian shares climbed over half a
percent on Tuesday, buoyed by a record close on Wall Street and
a trade deal between the United States and Mexico that investors
hoped would ratchet back rising global trade tensions.
Investors are now watching to see if Canada agrees to the
new terms to overhaul the North American Free Trade Agreement
(NAFTA). Similarly, indications that Washington is pressing the
European Union to speed-up tariff talks added to the more upbeat
The S&P/ASX 200 index rose 0.7 percent, or 43.1
points to 6,312 by 0200 GMT. The benchmark closed 0.4 percent
higher on Monday.
Financial stocks were the biggest winners with the 'Big
Four' banks leading the way, even as a damning Royal Commission
inquiry into the sector continues.
Westpac Banking Corp was up as much as 2.6 percent,
while Commonwealth Bank of Australia and National
Australia Bank, whose pension funds were criticised in
initial findings by the inquiry, also rose 1.3 percent and 1.5
Among resources firms, recent gains in commodity prices have
helped buoy miners, with the sector index up 0.6
If the United States and Canada can reach a deal,
Mathan Somasundaram, a Blue Ocean Equities market portfolio
strategist, said "Aussie firms with production in the U.S., the
packaging companies and all those things, they will probably
benefit slightly from it."
Galaxy Resources rose as much as 10.8 percent,
after South Korean steelmaker POSCO signed a deal to
buy lithium mining rights owned by the company in Argentina for
Vitamin maker Blackmores Ltd surged and was the top
percentage gainer on the benchmark. It was last up nearly 8
percent after posting a jump in full-year profit.
Despite rising oil prices, gains in the local energy sector
were held back by a 6.8 percent fall in Caltex Australia
The oil refiner said higher costs kept its half-yearly
profit at the low end of its guidance, while saying it was also
considering selling certain retail assets.
New Zealand's benchmark S&P/NZX 50 index edged
higher, rising 0.1 percent to 9,214.02.
a2 Milk Company and Synlait Milk helped
drive the index higher but the gains were capped by a 3.6
percent drop in Tourism Holdings Ltd
In other news, Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern announced the
formation of a business council to advise her on major issues
facing the economy, in response to sinking business confidence.
For more individual stocks activity click on
(Reporting by Nikhil Kurian Nainan in Bengaluru, additional
reporting by Aaron Saldanha; Editing by Kim Coghill)
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