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Australia: Shares jump 1.7 per cent to 2-month high on ECB-led rally


[SYDNEY] Australian shares rose 1.7 per cent on Friday to a two-month high, buoyed by expectations that easy monetary policy will continue in Europe.

The S&P/ASX 200 index posted its biggest daily percentage gain since Oct 5, and closed up 87.76 points at 5,351.6. The benchmark rose 0.3 per cent on Thursday.

Trading has been subdued for much of this week as investors were wary ahead of Thursday's ECB meeting and next week's policy reviews of the US Federal Reserve and the Bank of Japan.

A sluggish start to US corporate earnings season had also dulled investor appetite, but thanks to Friday's stellar performance the index ended the week up 1.7 per cent.

New Zealand's benchmark NZX 50 index rose 0.8 per cent or 47.07 points to 5,970.67.