Australian, NZ shares rise in thin trade on China optimism
* Miners lead gains on China stimulus prospects
* New Zealand touches record high during session
By Ambar Warrick
March 6 (Reuters) - Australian shares rose on Wednesday, as
mining stocks climbed on the prospect of increased Chinese
stimulus although investors remained cautious with trading
volumes thin as the benchmark approached a decade high.
The S&P/ASX 200 index rose 0.4 percent, or 22.5
points, to 6,221.8 by 0033 GMT. The benchmark fell 0.3 percent
on Tuesday. Trading volumes were at a fifth of the 30-day
"We're not seeing a huge amount of commitment to trading
this morning, and that reflects the fact that the market has run
very hard over the last couple of months," said Michael
McCarthy, Chief market strategist at CMC Markets.
"There are some concerns that as it nears that 10-year high
around 6,375, that we could see some corrective action. Some
reluctance from investors to jump in."
Australia's fourth-quarter gross domestic product also came
in slightly weaker than expected. Market participants have
tempered their expectations for Australia's economy as tepid
wages and a cooling property market undermine growth.
The Australian metals and mining index rose about
0.7 percent after China announced an increase in domestic
spending, which is seen as positive for Australian resource
The prospect of higher demand was also reflected in stronger
commodity prices. Mining majors BHP Group and Rio Tinto
rose about 0.6 percent each. Both firms export large
volumes of iron ore and copper to China.
Gold stocks also lent some support, with the Australian gold
index rising more than 1 percent.
Meanwhile, infant formula maker Bellamy's Australia
led gains on the ASX 200 after its smaller rival Bubs Australia
announced plans for Chinese expansion. Bubs' potential
success could bode well for other China-reliant consumer stocks,
which struggle with fickle regulators in the country.
Australia's largest department store operator Myer Holdings
Ltd surged about 13 percent after swinging to a
New Zealand shares were a touch higher amid thin trade. The
benchmark S&P/NZX 50 index rose 0.2 percent or 15.71
points to 9,409.66.
Electricity retailer Meridian Energy rose about 0.5
percent, while Auckland International Airport gained
The New Zealand benchmark had touched a record high earlier
in the session. However, its recent gains may stoke fears of an
eventual correction, owing to investors wanting to lock in their
(Reporting by Ambar Warrick in Bengaluru; Editing by Sam
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