* Easy monetary, fiscal policies prop up the economy
* Gold stocks lead gains on ASX benchmark
* NZ shares snap two-day winning streak
Dec 1 (Reuters) - Australian shares ended a three-session
losing streak to finish higher on Tuesday as the central bank
sounded optimistic about a recovery in the coronavirus-hit
economy while keeping interest rates at an all-time low.
The Reserve Bank of Australia (RBA) held rates at near-zero
in a widely expected move as easy monetary and fiscal policies
underpin the economy, fuelling demand for homes and boosting
Economic recovery is underway and recent data have generally
been better than expected, said RBA Governor Philip Lowe, while
reiterating the board was unlikely to raise the cash rate for at
least three years and was prepared to do more if necessary.
The S&P/ASX 200 index was up 1.1% at 6,588.5 points
at the close of trade. The benchmark ended lower on Monday over
Australia's deepening tensions with its largest trading partner
Investor focus will now shift to the third-quarter gross
domestic product data, which is likely to show 2.5% growth in
the economy in September quarter, bouncing back from its first
recession since 1991, according to a Reuters poll.
"With good data coming in over the last couple of days,
optimism around an economic bounceback is getting some
evidence," said Michael McCarthy, chief market strategist at CMC
Markets and Stockbroking.
The Australian Bureau of Statistics showed that government
spending rose in the September quarter, aided by a host of
fiscal stimulus, while the domestic housing market roared back
to life as record-low interest rates boosted demand from
In broad-based gains, gold stocks climbed 2.9% and
led the charge on the benchmark as bullion prices rose on
worries over spiking COVID-19 cases.
Fast food retailer Collins Foods and pizza company
Domino's Pizza Enterprises were the biggest boost to
New Zealand's benchmark S&P/NZX 50 index snapped two
sessions of gains to end 0.3% lower.
(Reporting by A K Pranav in Bengaluru, Editing by Sherry