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Australia: Shares rise 0.7% after 3 sessions of falls


[SYDNEY] Australian shares rose 0.7 per cent on Thursday as gains in financials, materials and energy stocks pushed the index higher although better-than-expected local jobs data lessened the chance of a rate cut in May.

The S&P/ASX 200 index rose 39.08 points to 5,947.5 at the close of trade, after falling for three consecutive sessions. The benchmark came off the day's highs of 5,970.8 points after the jobs data.

It fell 0.6 per cent on Wednesday to its lowest close since April 2.

The index, which is within a whisker of a key psychological level of 6,000 points, has fallen in three out of the last five weeks with investors disappointed when the Reserve Bank of Australia left rates unchanged at its April meeting. Weak data from China, Australia's biggest export market, and poor domestic consumer sentiment added to downward pressure.

New Zealand's benchmark NZX 50 index rose 0.44 per cent or 25.68 points to finish the session at 5,881.76.


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