October 20, 2017 / 5:56 AM / in a year

New Zealand shares recover early losses to gain for a 5th week; Australia up

(Updates to close)

Oct 20 (Reuters) - New Zealand shares ended marginally higher on Friday, recouping earlier losses which came on the back of nationalist New Zealand First Party agreeing with Labour Party leader Jacinda Ardern to form a new coalition government.

Prime Minister-elect Jacinda Ardern would be the Pacific nation’s youngest leader in more than 150 years, ending a decade of centre-right National rule and spelling changes to economic policy.

New Zealand’s benchmark S&P/NZX 50 index was 5.48 points higher at 8,129.55, rising for a fourteenth straight session to close at a record high. The benchmark gained 0.1 percent on Thursday.

The benchmark rose for a fifth straight week, rising 0.5 percent for the week.

Gains in financials and consumer staples stocks offset losses in telecom and utility shares.

Entertainment company SKY Network Television Ltd and telecom services provider Spark New Zealand were the index’s biggest drags, down 4.3 percent and 1.9 percent respectively.

Milk products maker a2 Milk, up 1.5 percent, was among the top advancers.

Meanwhile, Australian shares posted minor gains helped by consumer shares and financials. The Australian main index ended up 0.18 percent, or 10.87 points, at 5,907.

The benchmark gained 1.6 percent on the week in its third straight week of profits.

Metals and mining stocks ended slightly higher helped by a resurgence in commodity prices, while BHP shares got an added boost from higher oil prices.

Up 0.5 percent, BHP was the biggest contributor to overall gains on the benchmark besides Commonwealth Bank, which added 0.3 percent.

Gains, however, were capped by declines in the healthcare sector led by its biggest stock by market value CSL Ltd , which ended the day 0.7 percent lower.

Reporting by Rushil Dutta in Bengaluru; Editing by Jacqueline Wong

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