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Australia: Shares mark best week in four on split US Congress hopes

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Australian shares closed higher on Friday, clocking its best weekly gain in four, as investors rode on a global equities rally on hopes of a divided US Congress and a reduced possibility of higher corporate taxes.

[BENGALURU] Australian shares closed higher on Friday, clocking its best weekly gain in four, as investors rode on a global equities rally on hopes of a divided US Congress and a reduced possibility of higher corporate taxes.

The S&P/ASX 200 index ended 0.8 per cent higher at 6,190.20.

For the week, it rose 4.4 per cent, its best since Oct 9.

Global equities have gained this week despite uncertainty around the US presidential race, as investors hoped the two houses of the Congress would be divided in influence during a possible Joe Biden presidency, making it hard to enact radical Democratic policy changes.

"We're relatively happy with a divided Congress. In that, it takes the politics out of it and we can just get back to corporate news, companies making money," said Henry Jennings a senior analyst and portfolio manager at Marcustoday.

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Meanwhile, Australia said it is closely monitoring trade flows to China amid "deeply troubling" reports from industry that Chinese buyers have been told not to purchase seven categories of Australian produce from Friday.

Shares of Treasury Wine Estate, whose biggest market is China, however, closed 10 per cent higher.

"While the situation is political, there is no evidence of dumping in China of premium wines and Treasury may be in a better position than most if tariffs are targeted towards lower priced wines," analysts at Citi said in a note.

The Australian gold index gained 5.6 per cent, with Alkane Resources rising 5 per cent and Bellevue Gold adding about 10 per cent.

Miners AXMM rose 2.5 per cent on stronger iron ore prices. BHP Group and Rio Tinto each gained over 1 per cent.

The heavyweight financial index rose 0.7 per cent, with the "Big Four" banks closing 0.2 per cent to 1.4 per cent higher.

Macquarie Group gained 2.3 per cent after it posted a smaller-than-forecast half-yearly loss.

New Zealand's benchmark S&P/NZX 50 index rose 0.7 per cent to 12,337.02.

REUTERS

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