Nov 29 (Reuters) - Australian shares closed higher on
Tuesday, led by miners, as rumours swirled that recent protests
in several Chinese cities might prompt an earlier easing of
strict COVID-19 restrictions.
The S&P/ASX 200 index ended 0.3% higher at 7,253.3,
in line with a rally in broader global markets following reports
that Chinese health officials would hold a news conference later
in the day to discuss coronavirus control measures.
"The risks are floating to the downside as China's situation
is a huge hindrance on the materials sector, which is of course
Australia's main exports, affecting the share price of top
Aussie miners," said Azeenm Sheriff, a CMC Markets analyst.
Miners advanced 1.9% and were among the top gainers
on the Australian benchmark index, as iron ore futures rallied
after regulators in top steel producer China broadened equity
financing channels for developers.
Sector majors BHP Group and Fortescue
jumped more than 2% each.
Energy stocks edged higher, with Beach Energy
adding 1.3%, while Santos climbed 0.6%.
Gold stocks closed 0.3% lower on weak bullion
prices. Newcrest Mining, the country's largest gold
miner, slipped 0.1%.
In other news, domestic buy-now-pay-later firms face fresh
hurdles following a proposal to regulate the sector with the
same law that covers credit card and mortgage providers and bans
unsolicited credit-limit increases and requires background
checks for most consumer lending.
In New Zealand, the benchmark S&P/NZX 50 index closed
0.7% higher at 11395.35.
(Reporting By Navya Mittal in Bengaluru; Editing by Subhranshu