July 9, 2018 / 6:33 AM / 4 months ago

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

* Aussie shares gain for third straight session

* Materials lead gains on jump in copper prices

* NZ declines (Updates to close)

July 9 (Reuters) - 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 percent, or 13.70 points, to 6,286.00 at the close of trade. The benchmark added 0.9 percent on Friday.

U.S. 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 U.S.-China trade dispute.

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

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

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

In New Zealand, the benchmark S&P/NZX 50 index fell 0.3 percent 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 percent, while SKY Network Television Ltd dived 5.1 percent.

But Spark New Zealand Ltd firmed 0.7 percent. 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. (Reporting by Aditya Soni in Bengaluru; Editing by Sam Holmes)

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