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New Zealand shares hit four-week closing high; Australia flat

[WELLINGTON] New Zealand shares ended at their highest in more than weeks on Monday after a strong showing by the business-friendly National Party in weekend elections.

Australian shares ended flat.

The benchmark S&P/NZX 50 index rose 0.7 per cent, or 54.99 points to finish the session at 7,869.77, posting its biggest intraday percentage gain in nearly six weeks.

While the ruling National Party won the largest number votes in the general election, neither of the major parties secured enough seats to have a majority in parliament, forcing them to rely on the nationalist New Zealand First Party to form a coalition.

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Consumer staples and materials led the gains, with a2 Milk Company Ltd up 3 per cent and hitting its highest level in nearly two weeks and Fletcher Building Ltd adding 2.7 per cent.

A2 Milk was the biggest gainer on the index, followed by Skycity Entertainment Group Ltd climbing nearly 3 per cent.

Meanwhile, Australia shares ended flat, with gains in the healthcare, material and industrial stocks offsetting losses in other sectors.

The S&P/ASX 200 index rose 0.03 per cent, or 1.563 points to 5,683.7 at the close of trade. The benchmark rose 0.5 per cent on Friday.

REUTERS

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