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Australia, NZ shares rally on better risk sentiment

Date 27-Aug-2015
Subject Australia, NZ shares rally on better risk sentiment

SYDNEY/WELLINGTON, AUG 27 : Australian shares rose for the third consecutive session on Thursday, tracking gains on Wall Street and in other Asian markets, with the healthcare and utility sectors leading gains.

The S&P/ASX 200 index rallied 1.5 per cent or 76.62 points to 5,249.40 by 0406 GMT.

On Wednesday, the benchmark had closed 0.7 percent higher, pulling away from a two-year trough of under 5,000 touched this week.

A sharp rebound on Wall Street and in China improved the mood, but the local index remained vulnerable to global market swings amid fears of a hard landing in the Chinese economy. The Asia giant is the top export market of Australia and New Zealand.

The healthcare sector was in good form with Australia’s No.1 private hospital owner Ramsay Healthcare up 5 per cent with the largest daily increase in more than a year. The company reported a 27 per cent rise in full-year net profits.

Sigma Pharmaceuticals and Healthscope added between 5 and 6 per cent.

Utilities also outperformed, with gas pipeline owner APA Group up 6 per cent following a 63 per cent jump in annual profits reported in the last session.

Banks fared well with Australia and New Zealand Banking Group up 2 per cent, while Westpac Banking Corp, National Australia Bank and Commonwealth Bank added around 1 per cent.

Shares in building and construction materials firm Boral were among the few in negative territory. They dropped to to their lowest since February after investors were disappointed by the company’s results.

New Zealand’s benchmark NZX50 share index rose 75.6 points or 1.4 per cent to 5,6532.33, pulling further away from 5,607.31 hit earlier in the week, its lowest close since early January.

Gains were broad, as investors picked up shares in the aftermath of a dramatic sell-off earlier in the week.

Industrials led the move higher, with Auckland Airport climbing 2.8 per cent to NZ$4.88, recovering from a three-month low of NZ$4.75 hit the previous day.

Air New Zealand rose 2.0 per cent, pulling back from a sell-off the previous day, when investors brushed off the national carrier's announcement of record annual profits.

Fletcher Building rose 1.98 per cent to NZ$7.20, recovering further from a near three-year low of NZ$6.98 plumbed earlier in the week, when investors sold off the construction materials maker on concerns about an economic slowdown in China.

Bucking the rising trend was Kathmandu which fell 0.6 per cent after the struggling outdoor clothing maker on Wednesday announced staff cuts.

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