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Australia shares rise on likelihood of divided U.S. Congress

* Markets anticipate a Biden presidency

* NAB rises after FY results

* Miners buck trend as iron ore prices fall (Updates to close)

Nov 5 (Reuters) - Australian shares climbed more than 1% on Thursday, with the healthcare sector leading gains, as voting in U.S. elections pointed to a divided Congress, which would make the Democratic agenda of tough financial regulations unlikely.

The S&P/ASX 200 index rose 1.3% to 6,139.60, its highest closing since Oct. 26. It ended 0.1% lower on Wednesday.

Wall Street surged overnight as President Donald Trump’s win in the major battleground state of Florida led investors to believe a Democratic Party-led Congress was not on the cards even if Joe Biden wins the presidency.

“Congress looks, at this stage, set to remain divided and this means certain changes will be harder to put into place then if there was, say, a clean sweep by the Democrats,” said Steven Daghlian, market analyst at CommSec.

“Things like an increase in regulations for tech stocks, or for the energy industry as well, that makes it more difficult to take place.”

Both Trump and Biden have paths to 270 Electoral College votes as states tallied mail-in ballots. Biden remained optimistic on winning, while the Republican incumbent filed lawsuits and demanded recounts.

The Australian health sector gained 2.8% at close, with industry behemoth CSL, which brings in most of its revenue from the United States, gaining 3.5%.

The heavyweight financial sector climbed 1.5%, with National Australia Bank finishing 3.3% higher, after the country’s third-largest lender announced a final annual dividend of A$0.30.

The remaining three of the “Big Four” banks all gained between 1% and 2%.

Tech stocks closed 1.8% higher with Afterpay adding 2.5% and WiseTech Global advancing 0.6%.

Bucking the trend, miners slipped 0.2% as iron ore prices fell. BHP Group inched 0.1% lower, while Rio Tinto declined 0.8%.

Meanwhile, New Zealand’s benchmark S&P/NZX 50 index closed 0.4% lower at 12,249.98. (Reporting by Nikhil Subba in Bengaluru; Editing by Rashmi Aich)

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