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Australia: Shares change course and rise, NZ stocks extend rally


[SYDNEY] Australian shares erased morning losses and edged up 0.2 per cent on Wednesday, after an attempt by bears to take the index below a key support level fizzled out.

The S&P/ASX 200 index gained 12.72 points to 5,248.30 at the close of trade. Wednesday was the third time in the past week when bearish bets tried to push the index below 5,200.

Early in the day, all banks were down, but Australia & New Zealand Bank finished up 0.6 per cent and Commonwealth Bank of Australia 0.1 per cent higher. National Australia Bank and Westpac Banking Corp were still down at the end.

Miners extended earlier gains with Fortescue Metals Group surging 6 per cent, while Rio Tinto and BHP Billiton rose around 1 per cent.

New Zealand's benchmark NZX 50 index added 0.4 per cent or 22.77 points to close at 5,918.26. It was the ninth straight session of gains. During the day, the index touched a 2-1/2-month high.


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