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Australian shares end near 10-1/2 yr high on materials; NZ dips

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[BENGALURU] Australian shares closed at a 10-1/2 year high on Monday, with materials stocks driving gains on higher copper prices and following Wall Street's firmer finish.

The S&P/ASX 200 index rose 0.2 per cent, or 13.70 points, to 6,286.00 at the close of trade. The benchmark added 0.9 per cent on Friday.

US stocks climbed on Friday, with the S&P 500 and the Nasdaq hitting their highest levels in two weeks, as strong U.S. jobs growth blunted the impact of an escalating US-China trade dispute.

A rebound in London copper on Monday helped to drive strong gains in the Australian materials stocks.

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Global miner BHP jumped 2.1 per cent to a more than one-week high and was the dominant gainer on the bourse, while rival Rio Tinto Ltd climbed 1.4 per cent.

Financial stocks also advanced, with top lender Commonwealth Bank of Australia, rising 0.6 per cent to its highest since March 14, while National Australia Bank Ltd ticked up 0.2 per cent.

In New Zealand, the benchmark S&P/NZX 50 index fell 0.3 per cent or 22.39 points to finish the session at 9,061.65.

Healthcare and consumer discretionary stocks led the declines, with Fisher & Paykel Healthcare Corporation Ltd slipping 1 per cent, while SKY Network Television Ltd dived 5.1 per cent.

But Spark New Zealand Ltd firmed 0.7 per cent. The telecommunications and digital services provider said on Monday it was notified by New Zealand's competition regulator of its intention to file court proceedings regarding three separate historical operational and billing issues.

REUTERS