|19 June, 2019

Sino-U.S. trade hopes lift Australia shares to 11-yr peak; NZ up

Aussie miners, which are exposed to China, lead gains

Pedestrians are reflected in a window displaying stock prices at the Australian Securities Exchange (ASX) in Sydney, Australia, February 13, 2018.

Pedestrians are reflected in a window displaying stock prices at the Australian Securities Exchange (ASX) in Sydney, Australia, February 13, 2018.

Reuters/David Gray

Australian shares climbed to an 11-year high on Wednesday, as investor sentiment was underpinned by hopes U.S. and Chinese leaders would revive stalled trade talks and on prospects of rate cuts by the Federal Reserve and more policy easing at home.

The S&P/ASX 200 index rose 0.9%, or 61.2 points to 6,632.90 by 0058 GMT, having closed 0.6% higher on Tuesday.

Wall Street's overnight rally provided the early impetus, as U.S. President Donald Trump said he would have an extended meeting with Chinese President Xi Jinping at the G20 summit later this month, at a time when talks have all but broken down.

Traders were also betting on the U.S. Federal Reserve to open the door to future rate cuts when it delivers its decision later in the global day. While few expect an easing at the current meeting, markets are priced for at least 2 rate cuts before year-end.

At home, the Reserve Bank of Australia has decisively shifted to an easing stance, cutting rates earlier in June and saying further reduction would likely be needed.

Australia's mining sector, highly exposed to top trade partner China, was among the biggest gainers.

It .AXMM rose 1.8% with iron ore miner Fortescue Metals Group rising the most among its peers. The miner jumped more than 5% to an over a decade-high.

Global miners BHP Group BHP.AX and Rio Tinto RIO.AX also climbed as much as 2.6% and 3%, respectively.

Financial stocks .AXFJ rallied about 1%, with the country's "Big Four" banks gaining between 0.6% to 1.3%.

"News about the RBA continuing to take a dovish stance is certainly helping financial stocks," said Michael McCarthy, chief market strategist at CMC Markets.

Elsewhere, Afterpay Touch Group APT.AX was among the biggest gainers on the benchmark as investors return to the 'buy now, pay later' company after the country's financial crime watchdog ordered an audit over money-laundering concerns. It rose as much as 6.5%.

Coles Group Ltd, which touched a record high during Tuesday's session after announcing a strategic reset, extending gains on the back of several price target hikes by brokerages.

Elsewhere, gold stocks dropped 1% as gold prices pared gains on optimism surrounding the planned Trump-Xi meeting.

New Zealand's benchmark S&P/NZX 50 index rose 1.1% or to 10,302.69.

Australia and New Zealand Banking Group's local-listed shares rose 1.7% while Infratil added 1.9%.

(Reporting by Nikhil Kurian Nainan and Nikhil Subba in Bengaluru Editing by Shri Navaratnam) ((NikhilKurian.Nainan@thomsonreuters.com; RM: nikhilkurian.nainan.thomsonreuters.com@reuters.net; Twitter: @NikhilKurianN))

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