February 7, 2018 / 1:15 AM / in a year

Aussie shares recover from heavy sell-off; NZ at more than 2-mth low

* Aussie stocks post biggest intraday gain in 7 months

* New Zealand shares drop to more than 2-month low

By Ambar Warrick

Feb 7 (Reuters) - Australian shares recouped recent losses on Wednesday, tracking an overnight resurgence in Wall Street as markets at large rebounded from a string of heavy selloffs.

U.S. stocks rebounded 2 percent on Tuesday, but are still expected to show increased volatility in coming days.

The S&P/ASX 200 index rose 69.3 points or 1.2 percent to 5,902.6 by 0043 GMT, its biggest intraday gain since July. The benchmark fell 3.2 percent on Tuesday.

“Local investors are responding to the good results in trading seen in U.S. markets overnight, particularly the two percent gain for the major indices, which has given local investors confidence after yesterday’s destruction,” said Michael McCarthy, chief market strategist at CMC Markets.

“Its clear from the market action that growth stocks and sectors are being favoured this morning,” he added.

The materials sector was the best performing on the index, with mining heavyweights BHP Billiton and Rio Tinto rising about 1.6 percent and 2.2 percent each.

The Australian materials index rose as much as 2.3 percent, its best intraday gain since late-July.

Rio Tinto is scheduled to release its 2017 financial results later in the day. The miner is expected to report a 70 percent rise in its underlying net profit after tax for the year, UBS said in a research note.

Miners also took heart from rising iron ore prices.

Engineering contractor CIMIC Group rose more than 5 percent after its annual net profit rose sightly above guidance.

Financial stocks were also higher, with the benchmark financials index rising as much as 1.8 percent.

However, gains were throttled when Commonwealth Bank of Australia, the country’s biggest listed company, reported a decline in first-half cash profit, missing analysts’ expectations.

CBA booked an A$575 million ($454 million) charge for regulatory costs including a money-laundering lawsuit.

Gold stocks fell, tracking a dip in gold prices. Miner Evolution Mining dropped more than 3 percent.

“Clearly investors are considering neither safe havens nor inflation hedges, given the fall that we’re seeing in gold stocks today,” McCarthy said.

In New Zealand, markets resumed trading after a public holiday by falling to their lowest since late November. Consumer staples and healthcare stocks were the worst drag on the index.

New Zealand’s benchmark S&P/NZX 50 index fell 0.9 percent or 77.44 points to 8,164.39.

A2 Milk and Fisher & Paykel Healthcare Corp fell about 3.1 percent and 1 percent respectively.

Utility stocks however, provided a ray of hope, with energy retailer Contact Energy rising more than 1 percent.

Reporting by Ambar Warrick in Bengaluru; Editing by Eric Meijer

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