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Australia: Shares end three-day losing streak


[SYDNEY]Australian shares snapped a three-day losing streak on Monday, pushed up by financial and consumer stocks, as optimism spread from Wall Street on better-than-expected US jobs data.

The benchmark Australian index finished up 0.4 per cent, or 20.83 points, at 5,724.4.

On Friday, the index shed nearly 1 per cent, producing a loss of 0.3 per cent for the week.

Wall Street stocks ended higher on Friday after US Labour Department data showed the world's biggest economy added 222,000 jobs last month, exceeding expectations for 179,000.

While the robust job data puts the Federal Reserve on course to raise interest rates once more this year, subdued wage growth may give the central bank room to pause if needed.

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Australian financial stocks, tracking profits in US peers, were the biggest gainers on the benchmark.

Shares of the 'Big Four' banks, rose between 0.4 per cent and 0.9 per cent, contributing to the index's advance.

Telecom firms were lifted by a near 1 per cent rise in Telstra Corp shares, the biggest in the sector by market value.

However, basic materials and energy shares fell. While base metals prices recovered from earlier losses, oil prices remained under pressure, and iron ore gained.

The most-traded iron ore on the Dalian Commodity Exchange gained on Friday after data from Australia showed iron ore shipments to China from Australia's Port Hedland terminal dropped to 36.6 million tonnes in June from 38 million tonnes the previous month.

Port Hedland is used by three of Australia's top four iron ore miners, BHP Billiton, Fortescue Metals Group and Gina Rinehart's Hancock Prospecting.

BHP lost about 0.3 per cent and Fortescue shed almost 2 per cent.

New Zealand's benchmark S&P/NZX 50 index finished 0.5 per cent lower at 7,583.95 as industrials and consumer cyclicals stocks slipped.

Auckland International Airport and Fletcher Building Ltd were the biggest losers on the benchmark by weight, down about 2.3 per cent each.


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