Australian shares rose to a near one-month high on Wednesday driven by broad-based gains in the wake of record highs on Wall Street that was helped by a rebound in technology stocks. The S&P/ASX 200 index climbed 1 percent, or 55.53 points, to 5,827.7 by 0324 GMT. The benchmark added 1.7 percent on Tuesday in its best day in seven months. Wall Street gained on Tuesday as tech stocks, which saw heavy selling over the weekend, bounced back and as investors positioned for an expected Federal Reserve rate rise later in the day.
The Fed is scheduled to announce its monetary policy decision at 1800 GMT at the end of a two-day policy meeting, and may provide clues on the rate rise cycle this year. “We have seen a really strong bid coming into the market and I think a lot of it is down to global sentiment and momentum,” said Chris Weston, an institutional dealer with IG Markets.
“I think the idea that stocks have done really well recently, continue to work brilliantly and maybe you can also make an assumption that the market is not particularly expensive.” Financials stocks, tracking their U.S. peers, led the gains on the benchmark, with Commonwealth Bank of Australia, the biggest bank by market value, posting a near 1 percent rise.
Meanwhile, CBA’s ‘Big Four’ peers rose in a range of 0.4 percent to 1.4 percent. The metals and miners index was held afloat by gold stocks gaining on higher yellow metal prices, and by a near one- percent rise in BHP shares. BHP rival Rio Tinto, however, lost 0.6 percent on persistent weakness in iron ore and base metal prices.
China’s iron ore futures slid to their weakest level in almost seven months on underlying concerns over surplus glut. The energy index was 0.2 percent higher helped by a 1 percent gain in oil and gas explorer Woodside Petroleum . Oil price rose overnight, although they fell by one percent early on Wednesday on U.S. stock builds and higher OPEC production.
New Zealand’s benchmark S&P/NZX 50 index was 0.7 percent, or 48.86 points, higher at 7,488.94. Gains were concentrated in the financials sector with Westpac’s and ANZ’s New Zealand-listed posting gains of 2 percent and 0.8 percent, respectively. Kiwi tech stocks also tracked their U.S. peers higher, with accounting software maker Xero Ltd up 2.2 percent.