July 2, 2014 / 2:22 AM / in 4 years

Australia shares rebound from 2-1/2 month low on global optimism

* ASX 200 gains more than 1 pct in early trade

* Gains across all sectors with banks and miners leading (Adds analysis, quotes, stocks on the move)

By Thuy Ong and Naomi Tajitsu

SYDNEY/WELLINGTON, July 2 (Reuters) - Australian shares climbed 1 percent in early trade on Wednesday, rebounding from a 2-1/2 month low the previous day, thanks to record highs on Wall Street overnight as investors bought equities after a recent decline.

The Dow and the S&P 500 closed at record highs as manufacturing activity picked up in the United States and Asia, boosting optimism about the global economy’s health.

Investors scooped up shares among financials following Tuesday’s slide, when Australian bank shares stumbled after the Reserve Bank of Australia dampened any expectations of a change to record low interest rates.

Westpac Banking Corp added 0.9 percent, Australia and New Zealand Banking Group tacked on 1 percent, while National Australia Bank jumped 1.2 percent.

The S&P/ASX 200 index gained 54.4 points to 5,430.3 by 0151 GMT. The benchmark fell 0.4 percent on Tuesday.

Elsewhere, Benchmark 62 percent grade iron ore .IO62-CNI=SI rose slightly to $94.20 a tonne, helping to support top-tier miners.

BHP Billiton Ltd and Rio Tinto Ltd advanced 1.8 percent and 1.5 percent respectively.

“The market is extending last night’s Wall Street gains and is quite optimistic about the global economic health at the moment, that’s why sectors across the board are up,” said Biyi Cheng, head of Asia-Pacific dealing at City Index.

He said investors were also eyeing the early release of non-farm payrolls due on Thursday during the global day. U.S. markets are closed on July 4 for the Independence Day holiday.

“The sectors which were underperforming over the last few days are leading the market today like retailers and the material sector,” Cheng said.

Defensives also rose with blood products maker CSL Ltd rising 0.9 percent, while Wesfarmers Ltd gained 1.3 percent as the company said non-trading items are expected to produce a pre-tax net gain of about A$261 million to A$301 million in full-year results.

Vocus Communications Ltd soared 8.6 percent to a record high of A$5.15 after saying it will acquire FX Networks of New Zealand for an enterprise value of A$107.7 million. Vocus said the acquisition, in the first 12 months, would add NZ$13.5 million to NZ$14.5 million to earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortization (EBITDA).

Goodman Fielder Ltd lost 3.7 percent to 1-1/2 month lows of A$0.66 after the Australasian food company said it would recommend shareholders accept a reduced takeover offer.

New Zealand’s benchmark NZX-50 index rose 11.5 points to 5,157.79, lifted by a 2 percent rise in Australia and New Zealand Banking Group, which is dual-listed on the Australian and New Zealand bourses.

New Zealand Oil and Gas rose 1.9 percent to NZ$0.83, matching a five-month high hit in June, after the company said profit would be boosted by royalty payments.

On the main board, Tourism Holdings Group jumped 4.5 percent to match a 5 1/2-year high of NZ$1.20 after the tourism company said it expected full-year profit would meet or exceed forecasts given earlier in the year. (Editing by Richard Borsuk)

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