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Australia shares bounce on commodities, Wall St; NZ at record closing high


[BENGALURU] Australian shares closed higher on Monday, snapping a three-day losing streak, as financials found their footing after a disappointing week while firm commodity prices supported the materials sector.

The S&P/ASX 200 index rose 53.02 points, or 0.9 per cent, to close at 5,773.6, its highest in over a week. The benchmark fell 0.3 per cent on Friday.

Financials recouped some of last week's losses and accounted for nearly half the gains on the index, with the "Big Four" banks rising between 1.3 per cent and 1.7 per cent.

Commonwealth Bank of Australia, which has been hit hard by money-laundering allegations, reversed early losses to close 1.6 per cent higher.

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Australia's No.1 lender on Monday said a software "coding error" was responsible for the "vast majority" of the anti-money laundering law breaches it was accused of.

Material stocks finished higher, underpinned by upbeat commodity prices, with mining giant Rio Tinto and the Australian Metals and Mining Index closing at their highest in five-and-a-half months.

Investors also drew confidence from stronger US stocks on Friday. The Dow Jones Industrial Average ended at its eighth straight record high, after data showed employers hired more workers than expected in July.

New Zealand's benchmark S&P/NZX 50 index rose 25.45 points, or 0.3 per cent, to close at 7,771.57.

The index closed at an all-time high, boosted by gains in dairy firm a2 Milk Company and Fletcher Building.

Equity investors also had much to be cheerful about as survey showed on Monday that New Zealand's near-term inflation expectations fell in the third quarter, underscoring why the nation's central bank remains committed to keeping policy stimulatory for sometime to come.