Australia shares advance as buyers see value in financials; NZ flat

The S&P/ASX 200 index rose 0.7 per cent or 40.483 points to 5713.1, after losing 0.3 per cent on Friday. Australian shares ended higher on Monday, as investors moved into beaten-down financial stocks in search of better yields, while low metal prices weighed on material stocks.

The S&P/ASX 200 index rose 0.7 per cent or 40.483 points to 5713.1, after losing 0.3 per cent on Friday.

The financial index, which has fallen the past three weeks, gained 1.6 per cent.

“There has been a lot of negativity around banks, and I guess from time to time, there is some provided opportunities for investors to have another look at what would be considered fairly substantial yield in the market,” said Damien Hennessy of Heuristic Investment Systems in Melbourne.

“Financials are yield attractive,” he said.

Shares of Commonwealth Bank of Australia, which has been battered by allegations of a breach in money laundering rules, closed 1.4 per cent higher on Monday.

The other three of Australia’s Big Four banks climbed between 1.7 per cent and 2.2 per cent.

Macquarie Group, which rose 3 per cent, said it expects its first-half net profit to be higher a year earlier.

Energy stocks inched higher as oil prices edged up after the Saudi oil minister discussed possibly extending a pact to cut global oil supplies beyond March 2018 amid worries that energy demand would be hit hard by Hurricane Irma.

Origin Energy and Santos Ltd ended 1.6 per cent and 2.6 per cent higher, respectively.

Base metal prices weighed on materials stocks as Chinese iron ore futures fell to their weakest in almost a month on Monday, and nickel led an across-the-board decline in Chinese base metals futures.

Mining giants BHP Billiton Ltd and Rio Tinto Ltd slid 1.8 per cent and 1.4 per cent, respectively.

Gold producer Newcrest Mining Ltd dropped 3 per cent after gold prices dropped early on Monday after hitting their highest level in over a year in the previous session.

New Zealand’s benchmark S&P/NZX 50 index ended 0.22 points higher to finish the session at 7851.750.

A2 Milk Company Ltd rose for a fourth day and closed at an all-time high. Fisher & Paykel Healthcare Corporation Ltd also closed at a record high after gaining for a ninth consecutive session.

The biggest per centage loser on the index, insurance provider CBL Corporation Ltd, closed at NZ$3.05, its lowest since Aug. 26, 2016.

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