New Zealand shares snap five days of losses ahead of Fed decision

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Jan 26 (Reuters) - New Zealand shares snapped a five-session losing streak on Wednesday in thin trading volumes, with investors awaiting a U.S. Federal Reserve policy decision for further direction, while Australian markets were closed for a public holiday.

The S&P/NZX 50 index (.NZ50) rose 0.5% to 12,185.65 in its best session since Jan. 5. The benchmark fell 0.5% on Tuesday.

The Fed's two-day policy meeting will end later in the day, with market participants awaiting further clues on the timing and pace of interest rate hikes.

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New Zealand raised rates twice towards the end of 2021 to cool its red-hot property market.

The country last week imposed new restrictions, including mask rules and gathering limits, to slow the community spread of the COVID-19 Omicron variant. read more

Construction firm Fletcher Building (FBU.NZ) gained 1.7% in its best day since late December. Air New Zealand (AIR.NZ) rose 1.1% after two days of falls, while Auckland International Airport (AIA.NZ) advanced 1.8% in its second straight session of gains.

Bucking the trend, a2 Milk (ATM.NZ) dropped 2.4%, trimming gains seen in the previous session following a report that suggested the dairy firm could be a buyout target.

Australian markets were shut on account of the Australia Day holiday and will reopen on Thursday after the Fed decision. The benchmark ASX 200 (.AXJO) had closed 2.5% lower on Tuesday.

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Reporting by Upasana Singh in Bengaluru; Editing by Subhranshu Sahu

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