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Australia: Shares rise; first monthly gain in 5 months

Australian shares bucked a poor performance by Wall Street to edge 0.6 per cent higher on Thursday, aided by a hunt for dividend yield and more merger action.

[SYDNEY] Australian shares rose 0.52 per cent on Friday, gaining for the first month since February, as investors bought into higher yielding financial sector stocks and risk appetites improved on more upbeat US economic outlook.

The S&P/ASX 200 index rose 29.677 points to 5,699.200 at the close of trade, its third straight day of gains. The benchmark gained 4.4 per cent throughout July.

New Zealand's benchmark NZX 50 index rose 0.49 per cent or 29.110 points to finish the session at 5,920.960. It gained 3.4 per cent on the month.