Australian shares overcame two straight sessions of losses to rise slightly on Wednesday, in step with Wall Street, with energy stocks leading on oil price gains, although the strong dollar weighed on basic materials counters. Oil prices jumped 6 percent overnight on renewed expectations that OPEC members will agree to cut output when they meet later this month. The S&P/ASX 200 index rose 0.2 percent, at 5,335.5 at 0134 GMT. The benchmark fell 0.37 percent in the previous session. Woodside Petroleum Ltd rose as much as 3.8 pct to hit its highest in more than a month.
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The energy index rose nearly 3 percent with and Oil Search Ltd and Origin Energy Ltd hitting 3-week highs.
“I think we probably have a bit of a bounce today because oil and commodity prices are still quite high and the U.S. markets held up better than expected,” said Mathan Somasundaram, analyst at stockbroker Baillieu Holst.
Australia’s top miners BHP Billiton and Rio Tinto weighed most on the index under the pressure of a strong dollar, extending their losses to a third straight session.
The dollar rose on Tuesday to an 11-month high against a basket of currencies, with higher-than-expected October U.S. retail sales lifting bond yields to 10-month peaks and adding to the case for an interest rate hike next month.
Fortescue Metals Group Ltd fell about 3 percent after iron ore futures in Asia dropped sharply on Tuesday.
Meanwhile the gold stocks index was up 3 percent as global gold prices edged up.
The ASX financials index rose as much as 0.6 percent to its highest in more than three weeks.
The “Big Four” banks were among the top contributors to the main index.
New Zealand’s benchmark S&P/NZX 50 index rose 0.8 percent to 6,821.03, with gains were led by utilities and healthcare sectors.
Retirement village operator Summerset Group Holdings Ltd was the top performer, rising more than 4 percent.
Utilities Infratil Ltd, Vector Ltd and Genesis Energy Ltd were among the top five gainers.
A powerful earthquake 7.8 struck the South Island on Sunday causing extensive damage, with repairs expected to run to billions of dollars.
Fletcher Building Ltd rose as much as 2 percent to its highest in eight weeks.
Fletcher was heavily involved in reconstruction work after severe earthquakes in 2010 and 2011.