Australian shares end four-month high

| Updated: October 25, 2017 04:25:40

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Australian shares ended at their highest in nearly four months on Friday, supported by insurer stocks after the government unveiled healthcare reforms.

Australia’s benchmark S&P/ASX 200 index rose 0.3 per cent, or 19.734 points, to close at 5,814.20. The benchmark rose 0.4 per cent on Thursday.

The index ended the week 1.8 per cent higher, its biggest gain since the last week of March, reports Reuters.

Financials pushed the main index higher, with lender Westpac Banking Corp closing up 0.5 per cent.

The financial index ended near a two month high, with insurer Medibank Private leading the gains, rising 2.0 per cent to close at its highest in over 14 months.

Banking peers Commonwealth Bank of Australia and National Australia Bank rose 0.3 per cent each.

Miners BHP Billiton and Rio Tinto rose, gaining 0.6 per cent, each.

The most-traded iron ore contract on the Dalian Commodity Exchange was up 2.4 per cent as China’s top steelmaking city enforced production cuts, recovering from a 3-1/2-month low it hit on Thursday.

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