[SYDNEY] Australian shares rose 1 per cent on Monday in thin holiday-time trading, led by gains in mining, energy and telecommunications, while New Zealand stocks rose to record highs.
Trading volume is likely to remain thin this week, with many investors away for New Year holidays. The market will be closed on Thursday.
At 01:17 GMT, the S&P/ASX 200 index was up 55.46 points to a seven-week peak of 5,450.
Iron ore miner Fortescue Metals Group jumped 3 per cent, while BHP Billiton and Rio Tinto both gained almost 2 per cent even though iron ore dropped to a five-year trough last week.
The "Big Four" banks - Commonwealth Bank of Australia, Westpac Banking Corp, ANZ Banking Group and National Australia Bank - all edged up around half a percent.
Workforce provider Skilled Group leapt nearly 9 per cent to A$1.38 after it confirmed receiving an unsolicited proposal from Programmed Maintenance Services Ltd.
The real estate sector index lost around 0.5 per cent. Dexus Property Group was down 0.8 per cent to A$7.54 after announcing the acquisition of Lakes Business Park for A$153.5 million.