* RBA sees "solidly positive" growth in Sept and Dec qtrs
* Westpac down 0.7%, sells general insurance arm to Allianz
* Mesoblast gains on FDA fast-track designation for
Dec 2 (Reuters) - Australian shares rose on Wednesday after
the central bank governor struck an optimistic note about the
country's economy, though trade remained subdued as lenders
Commonwealth Bank of Australia and Westpac weighed on the index.
The S&P/ASX 200 index was up 0.14% at 6,597.40 by
Reserve Bank of Australia Governor Philip Lowe struck an
optimistic note about economic growth, saying the board was
still prepared to boost monetary stimulus, if needed. He added
that growth in both September and December quarters was expected
to be "solidly positive".
Data on third-quarter gross domestic product due later in
the day is likely to show a rebound in the Australian economy -
a 2.5% growth in the September quarter from a 7% contraction in
the three months ended June.
Among gainers, miners were the biggest boost to the
benchmark, with global iron ore miners BHP Group and
Rio Tinto jumping nearly 2%.
Healthcare sector rose 0.8%, with biotechnology firm
Mesoblast soaring as much as 18.6% on getting https://bit.ly/2KZpn6j
fast-track designation from the U.S. Food and Drug
Administration for its therapy product, Remestemcel-L, to treat
acute respiratory distress syndrome.
Financials weighed on the index, with top lenders
Commonwealth Bank of Australia and National Australia
Bank shedding 1.1% and 0.4%, respectively.
The country's third-largest bank Westpac fell up to
0.7% after the lender said it would sell its general insurance
arm to German insurer Allianz for A$725 million
Across the Tasman Sea, New Zealand's benchmark S&P/NZX 50
index was up 0.24% to 12,760.01.
($1 = 1.3557 Australian dollars)
(Reporting by Sameer Manekar in Bengaluru, Editing by Sherry