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Australia: Shares end 0.5% higher as banks support

[SYDNEY] Australian shares ended 0.5 per cent higher on Monday, led by gains in financials, but resources shares were weighed under by a slew of disappointing earnings.

Shares in Australian mining services firms fell sharply after they warned they will struggle to increase revenue as big miners slash spending in the face of collapsing commodity prices.

The S&P/ASX 200 index rose 26.46 points to 5,908 at the close of trade. The benchmark fell 0.4 per cent on Friday. The index rose last week to its highest since May 2008.

Many analysts see the market trading around 5,650-5750 points in the near-term even as the index inches higher toward a seven-year high.

New Zealand's benchmark NZX 50 index ended up 0.09 per cent or 5.41 points to finish the session at 5,754.36.

REUTERS