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Australia shares edge up to near 10-year high; NZ at record high

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[BENGALURU] Australian shares ticked up to a near 10-year closing high on Thursday, driven by financials while materials rode higher on stronger commodities prices.

The S&P/ASX 200 index rose 0.3 per cent or 18.2 points to close a subdued session at 6,088.10, after ending almost flat on Wednesday.

Financials accounted for most of the gains on the benchmark, with index heavyweights Commonwealth Bank of Australia and Westpac Banking Corp rising 0.4 per cent and 0.5 per cent, respectively.

The Australian metals and mining index stretched its winning run to a twelfth consecutive session as it gained 0.5 per cent, underpinned by a strengthening in gold and copper prices.

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Mining Giant BHP climbed 0.6 per cent to its highest since May 2015, while rival Rio Tinto Ltd ticked up 0.4 per cent to a near 6-1/2-year peak.

The energy sector also continued to benefit from higher oil prices. Oil and gas company Woodside Petroleum Ltd rose 0.8 per cent to its highest close since Nov 7.

In New Zealand, the benchmark S&P/NZX 50 index climbed 0.4 per cent or 32.100 points to finish the session at 8,408.530, a record closing high.

Consumer discretionary and utilities stocks together accounted for about half the gains on the benchmark, with entertainment company Sky Network Television Ltd rising 4 per cent to its highest close since Oct 17, while Genesis Energy Ltd ticked up 2.9 per cent.

REUTERS