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Australia: Shares end higher

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Australian shares fell on Monday, tracking weakness on Wall Street amid increasing doubts about the Trump administration's ability to deliver its economic agenda.

[CANBERRA] Australian shares rose on Monday, which much of the gains supplied by financials stocks sought for attractive dividend yields.

The S&P/ASX 200 index ended up 0.5 per cent or 31.17 points to 5,805.20.

The desire for high dividend yields - which are a feature of Australian banking stocks - was a driving factor in financial sector buying on Monday, said Michael McCarthy, chief market strategist at CMC Markets.

The financials index, which have risen four out of the past five sessions, climbed 1.1 per cent. The "Big Four" banks finished between 0.9 and 1.5 per cent higher.

The positive market sentiment was also supported by Australian data showing May new vehicle sales rose by the most in 11 months to hit the highest on record.

New Zealand's benchmark S&P/NZX 50 index ended 0.5 per cent or 39.28 points higher to finish at 7,592.03, a record closing high.

Gains in consumer staples helped push the index up for a fifth straight day.