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Australia: Shares end higher led by basic materials; NZ up

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[BENGALURU] Australian shares finished higher on Monday after a subdued start, as higher commodity prices supported basic materials stocks.

The S&P/ASX 200 index was up 0.6 per cent, or 33.89 points, at 5,317.73 at the close of trade. The benchmark closed 0.2 per cent lower on Friday and has lost 2.2 per cent this month.

Australian stocks had started soft after Wall Street weakened on Friday in response to news that the Federal Bureau of Investigation would review additional emails related to Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton's use of a personal email server while secretary of state.

Gold stocks drove the gains in the basic materials sector as the yellow metal held steady on Friday's gains amid a firm dollar.

Gold miners Newcrest Mining and OZ Minerals Ltd added 5.3 per cent and 5.5 per cent respectively.

Iron ore prices too extended their winning streak, up for a sixth straight session on Monday.

Mining giants Rio Tinto and BHP Billiton were 0.8 per cent and 0.4 per cent higher respectively.

Orocobre saw its biggest intraday percentage gain in seven years, ending 20.4 per cent higher, after Deutsche Bank in a note said the lithium miner's December quarter guidance for its Olaroz mine was achievable.

Financials, the biggest sector on the index, added 0.6 per cent.

Real estate investment trusts Investa Office Fund and DEXUS Property Group were the sector's biggest gainers, each adding over 2 per cent.

New Zealand's benchmark S&P/NZX 50 index rebounded from earlier losses, gaining 0.3 per cent, or 17.38 points, finishing the session at 6,960.68.

Telecom stocks and financials led the gains, with Spark New Zealand and Westpac Banking Corp, among the biggest gainers, up 2.8 per cent and 1.8 per cent respectively.