August 17, 2018 / 6:39 AM / 4 months ago

Australian shares rise on banks and strong earnings; NZ jumps

* Aussie shares post biggest weekly gain since July 6

* Banks and strong earnings underpin gains

* NZ climbs on health care (Updates to close)

Aug 17 (Reuters) - 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 percent higher, up 10.9 points at 6,339.2. The benchmark closed unchanged on Thursday and recorded a weekly gain of about 1 percent, its biggest since the first week of July.

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

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

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

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

Link Administration Holdings Ltd also underpinned the bullish sentiment, climbing 6.3 percent to its highest since May 8 after reporting a 67.5 percent 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 percent 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 percent, while Sonic Healthcare Ltd dropped 2.6 percent.

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

Health care dominated the gains, with Ryman Healthcare Ltd jumping 3.7 percent to a record high. (Reporting by Aditya Soni in Bengaluru; Editing by Simon Cameron-Moore)

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