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Australia: Shares end higher; down 0.9% for the week

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[SYDNEY] Australian shares rose 0.7 per cent on Friday, led by gains in financials and consumer staple stocks while energy-related shares gave up gains as oil eased on a higher dollar.

The S&P/ASX 200 index rose 40.8 points to 5,919.9 at the close of trade.

The benchmark posted its biggest fall in 3-1/2 months on Thursday, falling 1.6 per cent. Many investors were buying for the new quarter with the settlement of shares bought on Friday only kicking in by April 1.

Despite Friday's gains, the index ended the week down 0.9 per cent.

New Zealand's benchmark NZX 50 index rose 0.36 per cent or 21.08 points to finish the session at 5,854.25.

REUTERS