Australian shares post best day in more than 2 years after RBA surprise



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ASX 200 jumps 3.8%, best since June 2020

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All sectors close in positive territory

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RBA hikes rates by 25 bps to 9-year peak

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NZX 50 climbs most in more than a month

(Updates to close)

By Upasana Singh

Oct 4 (Reuters) - Australian shares jumped nearly 4% on Tuesday to record their best session since mid-June 2020, after the country's central bank surprised markets with a smaller-than-expected quarter-point rate hike.

The S&P/ASX 200 index .AXJO settled 3.8% higher at 6,699.30, with all sectors finishing in positive territory.

"While inflation has yet to peak in Australia, the RBA's (Reserve Bank of Australia) more cautious hiking pace indicates that it is prepared to wait for the effects of monetary policy tightening already enacted to emerge more fully," said Stephen Innes, managing partner at SPI Asset Management.

The RBA raised its cash rate by 25 basis points to a nine-year peak of 2.60%, saying they had already risen substantially, but added that further tightening would still be needed.

The latest rate hike is positive news for equities, said Azeem Sheriff, a market analyst at CMC Markets, adding that a short-term rally could be seen over the course of this month.

Financials .AXFJ soared 4.2% in their best day since June 2020, with the country's "Big Four" banks adding between 4% and 5%.

Following the rate hike, National Australia Bank NAB.AX said it would raise home loan rates by 0.25% per annum.

Miners .AXMM jumped 4.7% to mark their best session in more than two years. Sector behemoths BHP Group BHP.AX , Rio Tinto RIO.AX and Fortescue Metals Group FMG.AX rose between 1.7% and 3.8%.

Energy stocks .AXEJ ended 4.5% higher in their sixth consecutive session of gains on strong oil prices. Woodside Energy WDS.AX and Santos STO.AX surged 4.9% and 4.2%, respectively.

In New Zealand, the benchmark S&P/NZX 50 .NZ50 closed 1.2% higher at 11,090.03, marking its best session since Aug. 30.

The country's business confidence improved slightly in the third quarter amid signs that capacity pressures are starting to ease, a private think tank said.
Reporting by Upasana Singh in Bengaluru; Editing by Subhranshu Sahu

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