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Australia: Shares claw back early losses, end higher on bank rally


[SYDNEY] Australian shares staged a comeback on Wednesday as a rally in bank stocks offset a slide by resource stocks rooted in heavy losses in commodity prices overnight.

After trading lower in the morning, the S&P/ASX 200 index reversed course mid-session to close up 14.9 points or 0.3 per cent at 5,133.1. On Tuesday, the benchmark jumped 2.3 per cent.

Global miner BHP Billiton fell nearly 3 per cent to A$19.81, its first close below A$20 in a decade.

New Zealand's benchmark NZX 50 index rose 12.2 points or 0.2 per cent to finish the session at 5,979.8.