April 16, 2019 / 1:52 AM / 7 days ago

Australia shares edge up on miners, financials; NZ up

* Rio Tinto rises despite fall in quarterly iron ore shipments

* Aussie market shrugs off weak Wall Street

* Energy stocks down on oil prices

By Aby Jose Koilparambil

April 16 (Reuters) - Australian shares rose to a near two-week high in early trade on Tuesday, as Rio Tinto Ltd climbed over 2 percent to a near 11-year high despite the world’s second largest iron ore miner posting a 14 percent fall in quarterly iron ore shipments.

The S&P/ASX 200 index rose 0.2 percent or 11.1 points to 6,262.50 by 0051 GMT after having closed little changed on Monday.

Investors were probably relieved that the fall in Rio Tinto’s shipments wasn’t as bad as feared following the disruption caused by a tropical cyclone last month, analysts said. In any case, supply disruptions in Australia and elsewhere have resulted in iron ore prices surging to multi-year highs.

“The company has got lingering issues but the tighter iron ore market more than offsets the losses in volume,” said Glyn Lawcock, managing director at UBS Investment Bank.

Rio’s rival and another index heavyweight BHP Group Ltd , however, fell 0.2 percent ahead of its quarterly production report on Wednesday.

Gold stocks also supported the benchmark as the shares bounced back after a three sessions of decline.

Financials, the largest sector in the benchmark, also rose as investors shrugged off a weak Wall Street, where underwhelming earnings from Goldman Sachs and Citigroup curbed investor enthusiasm.

Three of Australia’s ‘Big Four’ banks - National Australia Bank Ltd, Commonwealth Bank of Australia and Westpac Banking Corp advanced by between 0.2 percent and 0.4 percent.

Energy stocks, however, fell after Russia’s finance minister halted a rally in oil prices by saying Russia and OPEC may decide to boost production to fight for market share with the United States.

Beach Energy was the top loser on the energy sub-index, which dropped up to 1.6 percent.

Across the Tasman Sea, New Zealand’s benchmark S&P/NZX 50 index advanced 0.5 percent to 9,893.91, leaving it set for a fourth successive session of gains.

Dairy firm a2 Milk Co Ltd was among the top gainers on the benchmark, rising 3.4 percent.

Meanwhile, Restaurant Brands New Zealand Ltd featured among top losers, dropping more than 4 percent, after the company reported a slight rise in full year net profit but decided not to pay final dividend.

Reporting by Aby Jose Koilparambil in Bengaluru; Editing by Simon Cameron-Moore

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