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Australian shares rise on banks and strong earnings; NZ jumps

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[BENGALURU] Australian shares ticked up on Friday, after a firmer finish on Wall Street, with banks leading the gains along with Link Administration Holdings and Goodman Group which rose on strong earnings.

The S&P/ASX 200 index closed 0.2 per cent higher, up 10.9 points at 6,339.2. The benchmark closed unchanged on Thursday and recorded a weekly gain of about 1 per cent, its biggest since the first week of July.

US stocks rebounded on Thursday with the Dow posting its biggest percentage gain in over four months.

Mirroring strength in their US peers, Australian banks led gains on Friday, with the financial index rising 0.3 per cent to its highest since March 13.

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Australia and New Zealand Banking Group Ltd was up 0.7 per cent at it highest since November 2017, while National Australia Bank Ltd strengthened 0.2 per cent to a three and a half month high.

Meanwhile, Goodman Group Pty Ltd surged 5.3 per cent to a near ten-year high after posting a 41.1 per cent jump in annual statutory profit.

Link Administration Holdings Ltd also underpinned the bullish sentiment, climbing 6.3 per cent to its highest since May 8 after reporting a 67.5 per cent jump in full-year net profit.

On the opposite end, weakness in Origin Energy Ltd and health care stocks kept the benchmark's gains in check.

Origin extended losses as fell 2.2 per cent to a more than four-month low after underlying earnings of its energy markets business fell short of expectations.

Health care stocks were also in red, with CSL Ltd dipping 0.4 per cent, while Sonic Healthcare Ltd dropped 2.6 per cent.

Across the Tasman sea, New Zealand's benchmark S&P/NZX 50 index rose 0.6 per cent or 53.86 points to finish the session at 9,052.77. The benchmark posted a gain of 0.5 per cent for the week.

Health care dominated the gains, with Ryman Healthcare Ltd jumping 3.7 per cent to a record high.

REUTERS