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Australian shares advanced on Tuesday, with financials and gold stocks spearheading gains, as investors remained confident about a pause in the US Federal Reserve’s rate tightening cycle.

The S&P/ASX 200 index was up 0.8% at 7,046, as of 2358 GMT, after closing 0.7% lower on Monday.

Recent soft US economic data raised hopes that the Fed is done raising interest rates and might even start cutting them by early next year.

In Australia, data showed retail sales for Oct fell 0.2% month-on-month, weaker than a Reuters forecast.

Investors are also awaiting inflation numbers due later on Wednesday, which will shape the future rate policy of the Reserve Bank of Australia.

On the local bourse, gold stocks gained 1.3% to touch their highest level since Nov 6 as bullion prices soared on bets of Fed rate pause.

The sub-index was on track to gain for a second consecutive session, if current trend holds.

Australian shares edge higher with inflation data in focus

ASX-listed shares of Newmont Corp edged 1.8% higher, while those in Evolution Mining were up 0.1%. Rate-sensitive financial stocks followed suit, gaining about 1% to notch their biggest intraday jump since Nov. 15.

The “Big Four” banks added between 1% and 1.8%. Other sub-indexes such as mining, real estate and technology also edged higher.

Among individual stocks, takeover-target Origin Energy fell 0.5% after the power producer said its loaded LNG vessel docked at its Australia Pacific LNG facility on Curtis Island had a power outage.

Collins Food soared as much as 10.5% to its highest since March 2022 as the restaurant operator’s half-year profit quadrapled, driven by higher revenue from its quick service restaurants.

New Zealand’s benchmark S&P/NZX 50 index was flat at 11,150.54.

Shares of Sylait Milk were trading flat despite the company’s decision to raise its base milk price forecast for the current season, helped by a recovery in dairy commodity prices.

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