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Australia shares gain on U.S. data, oil; NZ stocks fall

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Australian shares recovered some ground on Thursday, tracking Wall Street and driven by financial stocks, after strong U.S. economic data and sharp gains in oil prices hinted at a recovering global economy.

The S&P/ASX 200 index perked up 30.07 points, or 0.6 percent, to 5,483 at the close of trade.

Data from the Institute of Supply Management (ISM) showed that U.S. services sector activity rebounded to an 11-month high in September, bolstering prospects of an interest rate hike by the Federal Reserve in December.

Financials outperformed other sectors on the news, with all of the ‘Big Four’ banks rising. The financials index closed 0.8 percent higher, extending gains for a fourth session.

The energy index gained as much as 2.1 percent and touched a 1-1/2-month high, buoyed after oil prices rose 2 percent to their highest since June.

Santos Ltd was among the biggest percentage gainers on the benchmark index, while oil major Woodside Petroleum touched an over one-month high, hovering around its highest this year hit on Aug. 25.

Paul

The author Paul