Australian shares rise on global rate cut prospects; NZ up

* Rising oil prices buoy energy stocks

* Tech stocks gain up to 1.1% tracking Wall Street peers

By Niyati Shetty

July 23 (Reuters) - Australian shares climbed on Tuesday as investors anticipated major central banks will ease monetary policy, and higher oil prices buoyed energy stocks.

The S&P/ASX 200 index rose 0.3%, or 20.3 points, to 6,711.50 by 0140 GMT. The benchmark lost 0.1% on Monday.

Global markets await key interest rate decisions by two major central banks, with the European Central Bank expected to cut by 10 basis points on Thursday, and the U.S. Federal Reserve expected to lower rates by at least 25-basis point a few days later.

"Once the ECB starts to move dovish then the Fed will be forced to follow," said Mathan Somasundaram, market portfolio strategist at Blue Ocean Equities.

Humming along to the dovish tune, a top Reserve Bank of Australia official said on Tuesday that the central bank was ready to cut rates again "if needed".

Financial stocks gained despite the country's prudential watchdog proposing tighter terms for executive pay at financial firms, underlining a push for more scrutiny in the wake of a public inquiry on widespread misconduct in the sector.

The 'Big Four' banks rose between 0.1% and 0.7%, with Westpac Banking Corp and Australia and New Zealand Banking Group each adding 0.2%.

Meanwhile, energy stocks were set to gain for a third straight session as oil prices rose on concerns over possible supply disruptions in the Middle East after Iran's seizure of a British tanker last week.

Oil Search Ltd advanced 1.5%, while Santos was up 0.4%.

Tech stocks rose as much as 1.1%, tracking Wall Street peers, as investors awaited corporate earning results from tech giants Facebook, Alphabet and Amazon this week.

WiseTech Global added 2.1%, while Australia-listed Xero Ltd gained 1.5%.

Iron ore miners Rio Tinto and Fortescue Metals Group each declined 0.6%, as prices of the material fell on Monday.

Across the Tasman Sea, New Zealand's benchmark S&P/NZX 50 index rose marginally to 10,838.63.

Dairy products maker a2 Milk Company advanced 1.4% and Fisher & Paykel Healthcare Corp gained 0.9%. (Reporting by Niyati Shetty in Bengaluru, Additional Reporting by Rashmi Ashok; Editing by Simon Cameron-Moore)

2019-07-23 04:04:23

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