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Australia: Shares rise, supported by miners, banks


[SYDNEY] Australian shares rose 0.7 per cent on Friday on optimism after Chinese regulators enforced strict measures to curb a fierce equities sell-off and some hopes rose for a deal on Greece at a weekend summit of European leaders.

Greece offered new reform proposals to creditors, spurring hopes of a cash-for-reform deal.

The S&P/ASX 200 index gained 41.7 points in a broad-based rally to 5,518.0 by 0209 GMT. After slipping to its lowest levels since January, the benchmark barely changed on Thursday. "There seems to be a bit of optimism ...but there's still a lot of uncertainty around Greece and China so I'm not sure how this will go as we head into the weekend," Damien Hennessy, co-founder Heurisic Investment Systems said.

The market "is still at reasonable levels, it's not as if it's outstandingly cheap", he said.

Despite Friday's gains, the market is on track to end the week in negative territory for the third consecutive week.

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Mining stocks fared well after a rebound in iron ore prices.

BHP Billiton rose 2.4 per cent, Rio Tinto by 2.2 per cent.

The major banks rose with Westpac up 0.8 per cent and CBA 0.6 per cent.

Sigma Pharmaceuticals fell 2.6 per cent on rating downgrade by Morningstar while technology start-up Reffind continued its winning streak on the second day of listing.

For more individual stocks activity click on New Zealand's benchmark NZX 50 index rose 0.1 per cent or 6.8 points to 5,755.3.

New Zealand's benchmark NZX50 share index was up 0.07 per cent or 4.05 points to 5,741.5.

SkyCity Entertainment climbed 1.2 per cent, supported after Auckland Council said that the casino operator could proceed with its plans to build a convention centre in the city without public consultation.

Xero jumped 5.8 per cent to NZ$17.99 (S$16.35), bouncing off a five-month low of NZ$16.65 hit on Thursday after the cloud-based software developer said it had expanding its payroll and inventory management tools for firms in the United States, where the fast growing company is expanding.

Xero was supported by demand to buy on dips after its shares have fallen 12 per cent so far this month. Outdoor retailer Kathmandu also benefited from dip buying, which lifted shares 2.6 per cent.

Further gains were limited by a 1.5 per cent slide in online auction site Trade Me, while Meridian Energy slipped 0.7 per cent.


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