Australian Bank Shares Jump as Rates Stay Put

Australian banking stocks gained Tuesday after a special government-appointed inquiry into the country's financial sector did not recommend breaking up any of the banks or interfering in the way they lend money.

Shares of ANZ rose 6.5%, National Australia Bank added 3.9%, Westpac shares added 7.4% and Commonwealth Bank gained 4.7%, as the heavily weighted financial sub-index added 4.5%

Still, the so-called Royal Commission recommended measures that would subject regulators to a new oversight body and also overhaul the financial industry's pay to remove conflicts of interest.

The Reserve Bank of Australia (RBA) kept its cash rate unchanged at 1.5%

In the bank's monetary policy decision statement, RBA Governor Philip Lowe said that the outlook for global growth remained reasonable but downside risks have increased.

The Australian dollar, meanwhile, changed hands at $0.7259 U.S., rising from an earlier session low of $0.7191.

In Japan, the Nikkei 225 doffed 39.32 points, or 0.2%, to 20,844.45.

The Japanese yen, considered a safe-haven asset, traded at 109.86 to the U.S. dollar, weakening from levels near 108.5 last week.

In other markets

Markets in Hong Kong, Taiwan, Shanghai, Singapore and Korea remained shuttered for holiday

In New Zealand, the NZX 50 regained 94.31 points, or 1.1%, to 9,073.72

In Australia, the ASX 200 gained 114.71 points, or 2%, to 6,005.91