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Australia: Shares post third weekly gain on rate cut hopes, NZ at new record

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[SYDNEY] Australian shares edged to their highest close in a year on Friday, securing a third straight week of gains, as hopes of a rate cut kept investors interested in the lead-up to earnings season, while New Zealand stocks hit a fresh record close.

The S&P/ASX 200 index added 5.7 points, or 0.1 per cent, to 5,562.3 at the close of trade, its highest since Aug 6, 2015. The benchmark rose 1.2 per cent for the week.

New Zealand's benchmark S&P/NZX 50 index rose 41.8 points, or 0.6 per cent, to finish the session at 7,348.1. It was up 1.7 per cent for the week, its fifth consecutive weekly gain.