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Nov 17 (Reuters) - Australian shares closed firmer on Friday, tracking strength in Wall Street, but they posted their worst week in five months dampened by sliding commodities and financial shares.
Wall Street’s main indexes rose sharply on Thursday, boosted by earnings optimism and after the U.S. House of Representatives approved a broad package of tax cuts sought by President Donald Trump.
The S&P/ASX 200 index rose 0.2 percent, or 13.789 points, to end at 5,957.3. The benchmark gained 0.3 percent on Thursday. However, the index shed 1.2 percent for the week, registering its biggest weekly loss since the week of June 9.
Financial stocks and healthcare stocks were the best performers on the benchmark on Friday.
The financial index climbed 0.4 percent with the “Big Four” banks adding between 0.1 percent and 0.6 percent.
Australia’s healthcare index ended 0.7 percent higher. Bio-therapeutics company CSL Ltd was the biggest boost to the main index and rose 1.2 percent.
Gambling service operator Tabcorp Holdings, up 4.8 percent, was the top percentage gainer on the benchmark after an Australian tribunal gave the green sign to its takeover of lotto operator Tatts Group Ltd following an antitrust regulator raising concerns about the deal.
New Zealand’s benchmark S&P/NZX 50 index ended the session 0.3 percent or 27.28 points higher at 8,061.98 after adding 1.1 percent this week, its biggest weekly gain in five.
Consumer staples and healthcare stocks were the top gainers on the index.
Dairy firm a2 Milk was the biggest contributor to the index, gaining 1.7 percent, while retirement home operator Summerset Group Holdings Ltd also added 1.7 percent. (Reporting by Devika Syamnath in Bengaluru; Editing by Jacqueline Wong)