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Australia: Shares rise, aided by banks, China Q2 growth number


[SYDNEY] Australian shares rose on Wednesday, led by banks, as China reported better-than-expected growth and uncertainty about Greece lessened.

The S&P/ASX 200 index rose 0.9 per cent, or 48.3 points to 5,625.7 by 0247 GMT. The benchmark index rose 1.9 per cent he previous session. "We are seeing a broad based rally today. Just a continuation of momentum more than anything else," Chris Conway, head of research trading, Australian Stock Report.

Banks led the rally after as investors chased quality stocks.

Commonwealth Bank of Australia rose 1.1 per cent, National Australia Bank and Westpac Bank gained 1.06 per cent and 0.9 per cent respectively.

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Media giant APN News jumped 6.15 per cent after Macquarie Wealth Management upgraded its recommendation.

Asian stocks inched cautiously higher, taking their cue from Wall Street and generally getting a boost from China reporting second-quarter annual growth of 7.0 per cent.

Energy stocks faired well after oil prices rose despite a nuclear deal being settled with Iran, which will increase global oil supplies.

Woodside Petroleum Ltd was up 2.5 per cent and Santos rose 2.4 per cent.

For more individual stocks activity click on New Zealand's benchmark NZX50 share index was sitting at a one-week high, gaining 0.5 per cent to 5,780.55 as risk sentiment continued to improve.

The gains were led by two major stocks. Telecommunications company Spark rose 1.8 per cent to a one-month high, and there was a 1.1 per cent gain for Fletcher Building.

Other strong performers included oil refinery operator NZ Refining, for a second successive session, up 3.6 per cent still benefiting from a solid trading report, and Orion Health Group, up 2.3 per cent after confirming it was meeting trading expectations and benefiting from a lower New Zealand dollar.

Shares of power companies Meridian Energy and Genesis, which have been volatile, both rose more than 2 per cent.

Price falls were generally confined to small-cap stocks, although Sky TV, a top-10 stock, was 1.1 per cent lower, and discount retail chain The Warehouse Group was off 0.8 per cent.