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Australia: Stocks end higher on commodity lift

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[SYDNEY] Australian stocks closed stronger on Monday, although off session highs, as upticks in commodity prices lifted miners and oil companies, while financial shares offered a helping hand.

The S&P/ASX 200 index rose 43.791 points or 0.76 per cent to 5,771.2 at the close of trade.

Majors BHP Billiton Rio Tinto and Fortescue Metals Group led gains as iron ore prices climbed.

Iron ore traded on the Dalian Commodity Exchange jumped more than 3 per cent on Monday, while Chinese steel futures hit a nine-week peak.

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Reports that an OPEC-led supply cut may not only be extended into next year but might also be deepened to tighten the market and prop up prices lifted oil prices in Asian trading, extending Friday's gains.

Oil majors Woodside Petroleum and Oil Search rose accordingly, with the energy index ending 2.15 per cent higher.

Origin Energy was also among the top performers on the index, closing 3.95 per cent higher.

Gains in financials were led by Commonwealth Bank of Australia rising 1.3 per cent and Westpac Banking Corp up 0.8 per cent.

The financials index ended 0.58 per cent higher.

New Zealand's benchmark S&P/NZX 50 index rose 0.24 per cent or 17.39 points to finish the session at 7,409.500.

Gains were led by telecom shares, with Spark New Zealand up 2.9 per cent, and Chorus up 1.8 per cent.