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Australian shares end at two-month high on boost from miners, banks

08/11/2022 | 02:28am

* ASX hits a two-month high

* Miners lead the gains

* House prices in NZ fell in July; first annual fall since 2011

Aug 11 (Reuters) - Australian shares closed at their highest in two months on Thursday, lifted by miners and financials, as a softer-than-expected inflation data raised bets of a less hawkish tone from the U.S. Federal Reserve.

The S&P/ASX 200 index ended 1.1% higher at 7,071.0. The benchmark was down 0.5% on Wednesday.

Australian shares joined a rally in global equities after U.S consumer prices in July were unchanged, compared with June, although the reading was lower than investors' expectations.

"While the market has stepped back from pricing in another 75 basis points rate hike in September .... It will take a more meaningful fall in inflation in August or another economic shock to move the Fed from the current path for the policy rate " said Kerry Craig, global market Strategist at J.P Morgan.

Miners led the gains, advancing 1.5%. BHP and Fortescue Metals gained 1% and nearly 2%, respectively.

Financials jumped 1%, with three of "Big Four" banks ending higher.

Commonwealth Bank Australia extended losses, falling 0.3% after it flagged on Wednesday that spiralling cost-of-living pressures had started to hit consumer confidence.

Local energy stocks added 0.5% on strong overnight oil prices.

Heavyweight Santos jumped 1.9% as it acquired Hunter Gas Pipeline amid a supply crunch and rising electricity prices.

New Zealand's benchmark S&P/NZX 50 index closed 0.07% higher at 11760.01. The country's house prices fell in July with the median price range recording its first annual fall since 2011, said the Real Estate Institute of New Zealand. (Reporting By Navya Mittal in Bengaluru; editing by Uttaresh.V)

Reuters 2022
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