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Australia: Shares end higher, bank bargains lead turnaround

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[SYDNEY] Australian shares recovered from an early sell-off and ended higher on Friday as profit-takers bought cheap bank stocks, while port and rail company Asciano jumped on heightened takeover interest.

After slumping as much as 0.8 per cent in early trading, the S&P/ASX 200 index reversed course to close up 22.0 points or 0.4 per cent at 5,215.0. For the week, the benchmark fell 0.5 per cent.

New Zealand's benchmark NZX 50 index fell 3.9 points or 0.1 percent to finish the session at 6,069.7. The index was up 1.3 percent for the week.

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