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Australia shares gain on Opec deal, materials, energy jump; NZ up

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Australian shares rose on Thursday led by rally in materials and energy stocks after Opec's deal to cut production lifted oil prices.

[BENGALURU] Australian shares rose on Thursday led by rally in materials and energy stocks after Opec's deal to cut production lifted oil prices.

The S&P/ASX 200 index, which gained 2.3 per cent in November, rose 0.4 points, or 23.6 points, to 5,464.1 by 0055 GMT.

Oil prices jumped more than 10 per cent to the highest in a month after the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries on Wednesday agreed to its first output cut since 2008, aiming to reduce 1.2 million barrels per day (bpd), or over 3 per cent, from January.

Australia's benchmark energy index climbed 7 per cent to a one-year high, with all major stocks gaining. Woodside Petroleum hit an over one-year high, and was last up 6 per cent, while Santos Ltd touched a two-month high and was trading 12.7 per cent higher.

Gains in "commodities linked stocks today on the back of Opec is what is driving the market higher... the rest of the market is fairly uninspiring," said Christopher Conway, head of research and trading at Australian Stock Report.

Index heavyweight BHP Billiton helped the index most with a 4.7 per cent jump to snap three sessions of losses. Rio Tinto was also among top movers.

The benchmark financial index extended its strong run, with the "Big four" banks up between 0.5 per cent and 1.2 per cent. The sector got a boost from solid showing in US peers overnight.

Investors are betting US President elect Donald Trump's policies will benefit stock markets, with expectations of higher spending on infrastructure and simpler regulations in the healthcare and banking industries.

At the other end, real estate stocks took a hit for a second session, after data on Wednesday showed approvals to build new homes sank in October, hinting that the boom in home building might be turning to rubble.

Shopping centre company Westfield Corp fell 2.2 per cent.

New Zealand's benchmark S&P/NZX 50 index rose 0.3 per cent, or 22.59 points, to 6,919.54, led by materials and consumer staples.

Fletcher Building added as much as 2.6 per cent, while a2 Milk Company Ltd hit a nine-month high.

REUTERS