* New Hope Corp top gainer on the benchmark index
* Miners record best day in nearly two weeks
* Benchmark index marks best day in nearly two weeks
September 20 (Reuters) - Australian shares on Tuesday
recorded their best day in nearly two weeks with broad-based
gains following a late rally on Wall Street, while focus
remained squarely on the upcoming U.S. Federal Reserve meeting.
The S&P/ASX 200 index ended 1.3% to 6,806.40 points.
The benchmark fell 0.3% on Monday.
Markets have priced in a 75-basis-point increase at the end
of the two-day meeting on Wednesday but are worried whether
aggressive tightening by the Fed to tame stubbornly high
inflation will tip the economy into a recession.
Boosting sentiment back home was the minutes of the Reserve
Bank of Australia's (RBA) September meeting, which revealed that
the central bank saw a case for slowing the pace of hikes as
policy settings approached more normal levels.
"The market is probably factoring that future rate hikes
will be smaller in size as the effect of the four back-to-back
hikes of 50 bps will be felt with a lag," said Kunal Sawhney,
CEO, Kalkine Media.
The energy index rose 2%, with gains led by New Hope
Corp after the coal miner's shares hit a record high
following a massive jump in its annual profit on soaring thermal
The mining index rose 2.8% even as China's strict
zero-COVID policy and ailing property sector raised demand
concerns. Rio Tinto, BHP Group advanced 2.5%
and 3.6%, respectively, while Fortescue fell 0.9%.
"Despite a decline in iron ore prices, shares of iron ore
miners rallied as easing lockdowns in the city of Chengdu and
the government's efforts to stimulate the property sector in
China continues to bode well for iron ore demand," he added.
The gold and financials indexes advanced
1.4% and 1.3%, respectively, with the Big Four banks gaining
between 1.2% and 2%
New Zealand's benchmark S&P/NZX 50 index rose 0.3%
to finish the session at 11,570.43 points.
(Reporting by Tejaswi Marthi in Bengaluru)