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Australian shares edge up, led by banks and real estate stocks; NZ flat
[BENGALURU] Australian shares finished slightly higher on Monday as gains in financials and real estate stocks outweighed a fall in materials stocks on lower commodities prices.
The S&P/ASX 200 index erased small early losses to close 0.2 per cent or 10.10 points higher at 6,104.100. The benchmark rose 1.3 per cent on Friday.
Banks led the gainers, with the financial index rising 0.8 per cent to its highest since May 29.
Damian Rooney, director of equity sales at Argonaut, said banking stocks might be benefiting from a weaker Aussie dollar.
The Australian and New Zealand dollars softened to multi-month lows on Monday.
Index heavyweight Commonwealth Bank of Australia firmed 1 per cent to its highest since June 6, while Australia and New Zealand Banking Group Ltd jumped 1.4 per cent to a near three-week high.
Real estate stocks also advanced, with Goodman Group Pty Ltd rising 2.1 per cent to its highest in nearly 10 years.
Materials accounted for most of the losses as copper prices extended their slide.
Global miner BHP fell 2.4 per cent to its lowest since June 5 and rival Rio Tinto Ltd slid about 2 per cent.
In New Zealand, the benchmark S&P/NZX 50 index slipped fractionally, shedding 1.52 points to finish the session at 8,974.23.
Consumer staples and industrials stocks led declines, with dairy firm a2 Milk Company Ltd slipping 1.7 per cent, and Auckland International Airport Ltd fell 1.5 per cent to a near two-week low.