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Australia, NZ: Shares end firmer as US data dim Fed hike chances

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[BENGALURU] Australian shares rose for a third-straight session on Friday, with financial leading broad gains as global equities firmed after weak US data dented the chances of an interest rate hike by the Federal Reserve next week.

US August retail sales fell more than expected amid weak purchases of automobiles and a range of other goods. Other data on Thursday showed a drop in US manufacturing output last month.

The reduced likelihood of a Fed hike next week meant global liquidity will remain relatively flush for a longer period, bolstering riskier assets.

The S&P/ASX 200 index finished 1.1 per cent or 56.84 points higher at 5,296.7.

Despite the gains, the benchmark failed to avoid a fifth-straight weekly loss.

The 'Big Four' banks gained between 1 per cent to 1.1 per cent.

New Zealand's benchmark S&P/NZX 50 index snapped six-straight sessions of losses to rise 0.8 per cent, or 54.27 points, ending at 7,250.51.

The benchmark lost 2.9 per cent on the week in its biggest weekly loss since February.