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Australia: Shares up as miners rally; NZ closes at 3-mth high

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[SYDNEY] Australian shares rebounded on Monday, with materials accounting for nealy half the gains, after a rise in commodity prices boosted mining stocks.

The S&P/ASX 200 index rose 0.5 per cent, or 27.28 points to 5,748.4 at the close of trade as global miner BHP Billiton hit a 17-month high.

The mining index rose as much as 1.8 per cent to its highest in more than two years after iron ore futures in China soared as much as 8 per cent to a three-year high on Monday, powered by strong gains in steel prices.

Fortescue Metals advanced as much as 3.7 per cent to touch a one-month high while Rio Tinto ended 1.8 per cent firmer.

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Copper prices rose, extending gains from last week on the back of strong economic data from the United States and China. Copper miner OZ Minerals soared as much as 3.3 percent to hit a 4-1/2 year high.

DUET Group rose 5.4 per cent to finish at a more than eight year-high after it agreed to recommend an increased $5.51 billion bid from a consortium led by Cheung Kong Infrastructure Holdings New Zealand's benchmark S&P/NZX 50 index firmed 0.4 per cent, or 27.97 points, to finish the session at a three-month high of 7,074.94.

Utilities and materials drove many of the gains. A2 Milk Company Ltd was the top percentage gainer, jumping 3.6 per cent.

REUTERS

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