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Australia shares rise, but have worst week since June; NZ up

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[BENGALURU] Australian shares closed firmer on Friday, tracking strength in Wall Street, but they posted their worst week in five months dampened by sliding commodities and financial shares.

Wall Street's main indices rose sharply on Thursday, boosted by earnings optimism and after the US House of Representatives approved a broad package of tax cuts sought by President Donald Trump.

The S&P/ASX 200 index rose 0.2 per cent, or 13.789 points, to end at 5,957.3. The benchmark gained 0.3 per cent on Thursday. However, the index shed 1.2 per cent for the week, registering its biggest weekly loss since the week of June 9.

Financial stocks and healthcare stocks were the best performers on the benchmark on Friday.

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The financial index climbed 0.4 per cent with the"Big Four" banks adding between 0.1 per cent and 0.6 per cent.

Australia's healthcare index ended 0.7 per cent higher. Bio-therapeutics company CSL Ltd was the biggest boost to the main index and rose 1.2 per cent.

Gambling service operator Tabcorp Holdings, up 4.8 per cent, was the top percentage gainer on the benchmark after an Australian tribunal gave the green sign to its takeover of lotto operator Tatts Group Ltd following an antitrust regulator raising concerns about the deal.

New Zealand's benchmark S&P/NZX 50 index ended the session 0.3 per cent or 27.28 points higher at 8,061.98 after adding 1.1 per cent this week, its biggest weekly gain in five.

Consumer staples and healthcare stocks were the top gainers on the index.

Dairy firm a2 Milk was the biggest contributor to the index, gaining 1.7 per cent, while retirement home operator Summerset Group Holdings Ltd also added 1.7 per cent.

REUTERS

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