MELBOURNE: Australian shares rebounded 1.3 percent to a one-week high on Thursday as investors embraced risk assets after the declaration of a ceasefire on the Gaza strip, and as expectations for a cut to official interest rates in coming weeks rise.
The local market has not gained more than 1 percent in a single session since Oct. 2, when the central bank last lowered interest rates to stimulate the non-mining parts of Australia's economy.
This week, policy makers said "further easing may be appropriate in the period ahead."
"It alleviates stress," said Macquarie Equities division director Lucinda Chan, adding that another rate cut in early December could kick start spending and borrowing and boost Christmas activity.
Top miners and banks climbed as investors wait for HSBC Flash China PMI data due around 0145 GMT, which will give an indication of manufacturing activity in Australia's biggest export market.
"Some people have been buying the dips, and some people not, but today it looks like we're all chasing everything. There's still some caution, Europe is still out there, but the first half of next year could be a bit more positive," said Chan.
The benchmark S&P/ASX 200 index was up 57 points at 4,426.2 by 0105 GMT. The index, which last closed above 4,400 on Nov. 12, fell 0.4 percent on Wednesday, breaking two days of gains on concern over the US economy and Greece.
New Zealand's benchmark NZX 50 index rose 0.8 percent to 4,000.8, a one-month high.
Markets gained as a ceasefire between Israel and Gaza's Hamas rulers took hold after eight days of conflict .
"That really calmed markets. As long as that region comes to a truce as they said they would ... the market becomes a bit more comfortable," said Chan.