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Australia: Shares end 1% higher; NZ hits record high

[BENGALURU] Australian shares rose one per cent on Friday, largely boosted by financial and material stocks, although the market saw gains across the board following a record high on Wall Street.

US stocks posted their sixth straight record high on Thursday, for their longest run of highs since 1997, cheered by prospects for a tax overhaul.

Australia's benchmark S&P/ASX 200 index rose 58.934 points to close at 5,710.70. The index was flat on Thursday and ended the week up 0.5 per cent.

Australia's "Big 4" lenders gained between 1.1 per cent and 1.3 per cent. Commonwealth Bank of Australia pushed the index up the most.

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Materials stocks gained on strong metal prices. Copper rose 2.7 per cent and zinc was close to a 10-year high.

Mining giants BHP Billiton and Rio Tinto gained over 1.9 per cent each.

Energy stocks gained over one per cent as oil prices held near closing levels on Thursday, when prices rose 2 per cent on hopes of a potential Opec deal.

New Zealand's benchmark S&P/NZX 50 index edged up to close at 7,977.34, its second straight record high on a day the New Zealand First party's leader compared coalition talks with the governing and opposition parties following a national election to being "between the devil and the deep blue sea".

Consumer staple losses were countered by gains in utilities and real estate stocks.

Meridian Energy was the biggest percentage gainer, rising 2.5 per cent.

Dairy company A2 Milk was the biggest drag, falling 1.4 per cent, after gaining over 5 per cent in each of the previous two sessions.

REUTERS