September 19, 2018 / 6:24 AM / a month ago

Australian shares rise to 2-wk high led by materials, energy; NZ rises

* Materials and energy stocks push Aussie shares higher

* NZ extends gains into fifth straight session (Updates to close)

Sept 19 (Reuters) - Australian shares climbed to a two-week high on Wednesday, underpinned by materials and energy stocks as commodity prices rose amid a broad improvement in global investors’ sentiment.

The S&P/ASX 200 index ended up 0.5 percent or 28.50 points at 6,190.00, after dipping 0.4 percent on Tuesday.

Materials accounted for the majority of the gains, bolstered by a sharp rise in Shanghai copper prices as investors shrugged off an escalation of the U.S.-China trade row.

Appetite for mining stocks was also supported by a 1.3 percent jump in Dalian iron ore futures.

BHP rose 2.9 percent to a two-week high and was the biggest boost to the benchmark, while rival Rio Tinto Ltd advanced 3.1 percent to its highest since August 9.

Higher bullion prices also boosted gold miners. Newcrest Mining Ltd rose 1 percent, while Evolution Mining Ltd strengthened 0.8 percent.

Energy stocks were among top gainers, helped by an overnight jump in oil prices. Index heavyweight Woodside Petroleum Ltd firmed 0.8 percent, while Santos Ltd climbed 2.2 percent to a more than three-year high.

In New Zealand, the benchmark S&P/NZX 50 index firmed 0.3 percent or 29.29 points to finish the session at a three-week high of 9,345.06.

Utilities were among the top gainers, with Mercury NZ Ltd rising 1.8 percent to a more than one-week high.

Reporting by Aditya Soni in Bengaluru; Editing by Kim Coghill

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