Australian shares rebounded on Tuesday, boosted by materials and healthcare, after Federal Reserve Board Governor Lael Brainard’s comments on the US economy strengthened the view that the central bank would leave interest rates unchanged next week.
Brainard said she wanted to see a stronger trend in US consumer spending and evidence of rising inflation before the Fed raises rates, reducing prospects of a near-term interest rate hike.
The dollar was nursing losses against its peers after Brainard reiterated her dovish views.
“The rally that we saw in US trading after those (Brainard’s) comments is one of the reasons why we are seeing such a positive performance today across the Asia-Pacific region,” said Michael McCarthy, chief market strategist with CMC Markets.
The S&P/ASX 200 index gained 17.89 points, or 0.3 percent, to 5,237.5 by 0255 GMT, offsetting three straight-sessions of losses.
Strong gains in materials and healthcare offset losses in energy.
Gold stocks were amongst the biggest gainers on the benchmark index, with spot gold up about 0.3 percent by 0230 GMT. Newcrest Mining was 4 percent higher and Evolution Mining climbed 2.9 percent.
Mining giants BHP Billiton Ltd and Rio Tinto Ltd gained 1 percent and 0.6 percent respectively.
Fortescue Metals Group Ltd, the world No. 4 iron ore producer, rose more than 4 percent after announcing a $700 million term loan repayment.
Energy stocks were the biggest drag on the index as oil prices fell in early trade on Tuesday on profit taking. Oil explorer Oil Search was down nearly 2 percent while Woodside Petroleum edged lower by 0.2 percent.
New Zealand’s benchmark index, which lost 2.5 percent on Monday, inched lower by 0.1 percent, or 4.96 points at 7,274.8.
Losses in utilities and telecom sector were offset by gains in consumer and financial stocks.
Air New Zealand and Tower Ltd were among the biggest gainers on the benchmark index, both climbing more than 2 percent.
Energy company Mercury NZ Ltd was the biggest loser on the index, sliding as much as 6.7 percent to its lowest since June.