June 4, 2018 / 3:32 AM / 2 months ago

Australia shares rise on financials; NZ closed

* Australian shares climb to highest in 10 days

* CBA bolsters financials up

* Miners gain on base metal rally

By Chandini Monnappa Australian shares rose on Monday led largely by financial stocks as the country’s biggest bank settled money laundering complaints brought against it by the financial intelligence agency.

The S&P/ASX 200 index rose 0.6 percent or 37.90 points to 6,028.300 by 0307 GMT. The benchmark lost 0.4 percent on Friday.

Commonwealth Bank of Australia was the biggest gainer, rising as much as 2.4 percent after it agreed to pay a fine of A$700 million ($531.58 million) for money-laundering and terror finance breaches.

“It appears that investors are pleased that the AUSTRAC matter has been dealt with, so there is some relief in trading today,” said Michael McCarthy, chief market strategist at CMC Markets.

The financial index rose as much as 1.4 percent to its highest in nearly a week.

“It’s not just the AUSTRAC issue, the banking royal commission has put pressure on the whole sector so we’re seeing something of a relief rally today,” McCarthy added.

Australia and New Zealand Banking Group Ltd rose 1.2 percent to its highest since May 31 and National Australia Bank Ltd rose as much as 1.5 percent.

Australian shares of British lender CYBG Plc gained over 6 percent to post its biggest intraday percentage gain in nearly four weeks.

The British lender said on Sunday it had raised its offer to buy challenger bank Virgin Money by 7 percent in the exchange ratio through an all-share combination.

Material stocks on Monday also rose, due to a rally in base metals on Friday night.

Global miners Rio Tinto Ltd rose 0.9 percent, BHP Billiton rose as much as 1.2 percent to its highest in over ten days, while Fortescue Metals gained as much as 1.3 percent to its highest since May 14.

Real estate and healthcare stocks inched up, led higher by Scentre Group and CSL Ltd.

Shopping mall giant Scentre Group posted its biggest intraday percentage gain since Feb. 21.

Biotherapeutics company, CSL Ltd, the country’s fifth biggest company by market value was at a record high, rising up as much as 1.5 percent.

The New Zealand market was closed on Monday for a local holiday.

Reporting by Chandini Monnappa in Bengaluru; additional reporting by Susan Mathew; Editing by Sam Holmes

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