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Australia shares up, financials at 16-mth high; NZ slips
December 9, 2016 / 6:13 AM / a year ago

Australia shares up, financials at 16-mth high; NZ slips

(Updates to close)

Dec 9 (Reuters) - Australian shares extended gains to a fourth straight session on Friday led by financials and energy stocks which were propped up by steady oil prices.

The S&P/ASX 200 index rose 0.31 percent, or 16.97 points, to 5,560.6. The index gained 2.13 percent on the week.

Financials stocks jumped almost 1 percent to their highest since Aug. 7, 2015, and have gained for five weeks in a row.

The “Big Four” banks lifted the main index, with all except Westpac Banking Corp up more than 1 percent. All four recorded multi-month highs in the session.

The energy index rose 1.1 percent in the session but ended 0.4 percent lower on the week, snapping four consecutive weeks of gains.

Oil prices were steady on Friday, holding onto the previous session’s gains on optimism that non-OPEC producers might agree to cut output.

Woodside Petroleum Ltd and Origin Energy Ltd gained 2.4 pct and 1.6 pct respectively.

Metals and mining stocks reversed early gains to close 0.3 percent lower after China iron ore and steel futures ran in to profit taking after a six-day rally.

New Zealand’s benchmark S&P/NZX 50 index ended 0.33 percent lower at 6,893.3, dragged down by telecom and industrials. The index fell 0.17 percent on the week, its first weekly loss in four.

Communications service provider Spark New Zealand Ltd was the worst performer on the index falling 2.8 percent to a two-week low, while Auckland International Airport Ltd dipped 1.8 percent to its lowest since Dec 1.

Reporting by Geo Tharappel in Bengaluru; Editing by Simon Cameron-Moore

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