May 6, 2014 / 6:21 AM / in 4 years

Australia shares up 0.4 pct on banks, consumer stocks; RBA holds rates

(Updates to close)

SYDNEY, May 6 (Reuters) - Australian shares rose 0.4 percent in subdued trade on Tuesday, underpinned by gains in banks and consumer stocks, as the central bank gave some positive comments on the economy while holding rates steady.

As expected, the Reserve Bank of Australia kept interest rates unchanged at record lows for an eighth meeting on Tuesday, just a week before the government is expected to unveil a frugal budget that is likely to be an added drag on the economy over the next few years.

The S&P/ASX 200 index added 19.2 points to 5,481.4, bouncing back for the third straight session. The benchmark eked out a slim 0.1 percent rise on Monday.

New Zealand’s benchmark NZX 50 index fell 0.5 percent to 5,174.9.

Reporting by Maggie Lu Yueyang; Editing by Kim Coghill

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