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Australia: Shares post 5th straight rise on banks, Woolworths


[SYDNEY] Australian shares rose for a fifth straight session on Monday as investors swooped on high-yielding bank stocks and persistent takeover rumours swirling around Woolworths sent the country's top grocery chain sharply higher.

The S&P/ASX 200 index closed up 0.4 per cent or 20.3 points at 5,276.4. The benchmark has risen 5.2 per cent since Nov 16.

Woolworths rose 3.9 per cent, its biggest gain in a month.

New Zealand's benchmark NZX 50 index rose 1.2 per cent or 69.1 points to finish the session at 6,077.6.