December 28, 2018 / 5:55 AM / 6 months ago

Australian shares clock weekly gains as Wall Street extends rally; NZ up

* Aussie stocks post biggest weekly gain in over 2 years

* Financial shares up 2.3 pct

* Energy index gains nearly 5 pct this week (Updates to close)

Dec 28 (Reuters) - Australian shares ended the day and the week in positive territory on Friday, buoyed by an extended comeback rally on Wall Street, which supported sentiment across Asia Pacific markets.

The S&P/ASX 200 index closed 1 percent higher at 5,654.30. The benchmark advanced 1.9 percent on Thursday.

U.S. equities climbed on Thursday after an initial selloff, a day after the major indexes posted their biggest daily percentage increases in nearly a decade.

Australian shares have gained 3.4 percent this week, snapping two weeks of losses and posting their biggest weekly increase since November 2016. Markets were closed for much of this week due to Christmas and Boxing Day holidays.

Leading gains, financial stocks rose 2.3 percent on Friday and clocked 4.6 percent in weekly gains, after three straight weeks of losses.

The “Big Four” banks climbed in the range of 2.3 percent and 3 percent, with National Australia Bank Ltd and Australia and New Zealand Banking Group Ltd gaining 2.7 percent each.

The industry saw a bumpy year after widespread revelations of misconduct led to a national inquiry, which is due to release its final report by Feb. 1. The financial sector index was poised to lose about 15 percent this year.

Meanwhile, the energy index rose more than one percent on Friday and was up 4.9 percent this week, its biggest weekly gain in more than three months.

Oil prices jumped as much as 3 percent, rebounding from previous session’s declines, even as supply glut concerns persist.

Woodside Petroleum Ltd was up 0.9 percent while peer Santos Ltd advanced 1.7 percent.

Metals and mining stocks rose marginally, with index heavyweight BHP Group Ltd declining 0.6 percent and Rio Tinto Ltd gaining 0.5 percent. The index gained for a fourth straight week.

Australia’s fourth biggest firm by market capitalisation, drugmaker CSL Ltd rose 1.2 percent, driving gains in the healthcare index, which snapped two weeks of losses to rise 4.6 percent for the week.

New Zealand’s benchmark S&P/NZX 50 index was slightly higher, finishing the session at 8,783.49. The benchmark gained more than 1 percent this week after three weeks of losses.

Auckland International Airport Ltd slumped 2.9 percent, while a2 Milk Company Ltd rose 0.7 percent. (Reporting by Niyati Shetty in Bengaluru; Editing by Sam Holmes)

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