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Australia shares close up on miners boost; banks cap gains

Nov 25 (Reuters) – Australian shares reversed early losses to end marginally higher on Thursday, helped by gains in miners due to strong iron ore prices, though the benchmark’s advance was capped by a weak financial sector.

The S&P/ASX 200 (.AXJO) added 0.11% to close at 7,407.3. It had lost 0.15% on Wednesday.

Miners (.AXMM) pulled up the index, adding 1.1%, as benchmark iron ore futures soared to a three-week high.

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Major miners BHP (BHP.AX), Rio Tinto (RIO.AX) and Fortescue Metals Group(FMG.AX) added between 1% and 1.8%.

The financial sector (.AXFJ) lost 0.9%, on a weak local currency.

“With the Reserve Bank of Australia more likely to hold a dovish stance on interest rates for quite some time, one can expect the greenback to strengthen further and the Australian dollar to remain under pressure”, said Kunal Sawhney, chief executive officer of equity research firm Kalkine Group.

A Reuters poll found that the rate of soaring home prices in Australia is likely to ease off next year and in 2023, and a majority of analysts polled forecast affordability to worsen over the next 2-3 years. read more

The so-called “big four” banks, for whom mortgage loans are an important source of growth, gave up between 0.5% and 1.5%.

National Australia Bank (NAB.AX) lost 0.5%, even after the country’s competition watchdog approved its acquisition of Citi’s local consumer business. read more

Tech stocks (.AXIJ) also lent support to the benchmark as they climbed 2.4% in their best session in over a month. EML Payments (EML.AX) surged 31.3% on its best day since March 2020 on getting the Irish central bank’s nod to sign new customers.

New Zealand’s S&P/NZX 50 (.NZ50) rose 0.22% to 12,794.61, with the country’s biggest company by market value, Fisher & Paykel (FPH.NZ), adding 4.9% after upbeat results.

New Zealand also reported a trade deficit for October, a day after its central bank hiked interest rates for the second time in as many months. read more

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Reporting by Harshita Swaminathan; Editing by Shailesh Kuber

Our Standards: The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.

Read More: Australia shares close up on miners boost; banks cap gains

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