December 22, 2017 / 5:51 AM / in a year

Australian shares rise on financials and materials; NZ up

(Updates to close)

Dec 22 (Reuters) - Australian shares ticked up on Friday, following a strong lead from global markets, while materials stocks extended gains on higher commodities prices.

Wall Street stocks rose on Thursday in the wake of data pointing to steady growth in the U.S. economy, with financial stocks leading gains. The pan-European STOXX 600 index ended 0.6-percent higher.

Locally, the S&P/ASX 200 index climbed 0.2 percent or 9.3 points to 6,069.7 at the close of trade. The benchmark declined 0.3 percent on Thursday and gained 1.2 percent on a weekly basis, registering its fifth consecutive week of gains.

Mirroring their U.S. counterparts, financials led the gains on the benchmark Australian index. Index heavyweights Commonwealth Bank of Australia and Westpac Banking Corp rose 0.7 percent and 0.3 percent, respectively.

Miners extended gains for a 10th consecutive session on Friday, supported by higher iron ore prices. The Australian metals and mining index finished up 0.6 percent, its highest close since Mar. 2013.

Global miner BHP rose 0.9 percent to a more than 2-1/2 year high, while its rival Rio Tinto Ltd climbed 0.8 percent to its highest close since Nov. 9.

Across the Tasman Sea, New Zealand’s benchmark S&P/NZX 50 index rose 0.4 percent or 31.99 points to finish the session at 8,396.43.

The gain expanded the index’s weekly rise to 0.4 percent, its six consecutive weekly gain and its longest weekly streak since July.

Consumer and healthcare stocks accounted for most of the gains, with heavyweight a2 Milk Company Ltd climbing 1.5 percent, while Fisher & Paykel Healthcare Corporation Ltd rose 1 percent to a record close.

Reporting by Aditya Soni in Bengaluru; Editing by Sam Holmes

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