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Australia: Shares helped higher by merger news, NZ edges up

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[SYDNEY] Australian shares edged up 0.73 per cent on Thursday as firmer oil prices buoyed the energy sector and a billion-dollar takeover bid for clothing company Pacific Brands stirred speculation of more merger activity.

The S&P/ASX 200 index gained 37.69 points to 5225.40 at the close of trade.

New Zealand's benchmark S&P/NZX 50 index rose 0.59 per cent or 39.58 points to finish the session at 6789.98.

REUTERS