Australian shares unchanged ahead of cenbank expected 50 bps rate hike

July 5 (Reuters) - Australian shares drifted within a tight range on Tuesday as investors took a cautious stance ahead of a Reserve Bank of Australia (RBA) meeting where investors are widely expecting a rise in the key cash rate by half a percentage point.

The S&P/ASX 200 index .AXJO was up about nine points at 6,622.00 by 0050 GMT. The benchmark had gained 1.1% on Monday.

The RBA is likely to raise its key policy rates by 50 basis points, according to a Reuters poll, in an effort to temper down inflationary pressures, matching the U.S. Federal Reserve's 75 basis point hike in mid-June.

"We look for the RBA to repeat June's comment that the board expects to take further steps in the process of normalising monetary conditions," analysts from Australia and New Zealand Banking Group ANZ.AX said in a research note.

The Australian central bank's policy meeting outcome is due at 0500 GMT on Tuesday.

Energy stocks strengthened 1% as concerns of a tightening supply of crude outweighed fears of a looming global recession, with sector heavyweights like Woodside Energy WDS.AX and Santos Ltd STO.AX climbing 1.3% and 1% respectively.

Miners rose 0.8% despite a fall in iron ore prices.

Index majors like Fortescue Metals Group FMG.AX and BHP Group Ltd BHP.AX gained 0.4% and 0.5% respectively.

Separately, Guinea's government has ordered all work related to the Simandou iron ore mine project — in which Rio owns about 4% stake — to be halted after parties involved in the project missed a deadline to agree on a joint venture.

Financials were the laggards for the day, with three out of the "Big Four" banks dropping 0.9%-1.3%.

Domestic technology .AXIJ and healthcare .AXHJ shares rose 1.5% and 0.7%, respectively.

Across the Tasman Sea, New Zealand's benchmark S&P/NZX 50 index .NZ50 was flat.
Reporting by Archishma Iyer in Bengaluru; editing by Uttaresh.V

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