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Australia: Shares end higher

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Australian shares settled higher on Monday, driven by gains in healthcare and industrial stocks, while payments technology company Afterpay surged more than 35 per cent after unveiling China's Tencent Holdings as a shareholder.

[SYDNEY] Australian shares settled higher on Monday, driven by gains in healthcare and industrial stocks, while payments technology company Afterpay surged more than 35 per cent after unveiling China's Tencent Holdings as a shareholder.

The S&P/ASX 200 index rose 1.41 per cent to 5,319.8, off 26.1 per cent from its record high touched in February and down 21.52 per cent so far this year.

Shares of buy-now-pay-later firm Afterpay Ltd climbed to A$39.59 (S$35.88) within the first few minutes of the open, not far off an all-time high of A$41.14 they reached in February.

The reveal of Tencent Holdings as an Afterpay shareholder "seems to have fired up imagination for more potential international buying into the Australian market", said Michael McCarthy, chief market strategist at CMC Markets.

The news also helped the subindex for industrial stocks rise 1.5 per cent.

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The number of issues on the ASX that advanced were 694 while 901 declined.

New Zealand's benchmark S&P/NZX 50 index settled slightly higher, helped by gains in consumer and financial stocks. 

REUTERS

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