Australia shares record best week in a month; NZ gains for a 5th week

(Updates to close)

July 14 (Reuters) – Australian shares ended higher on Friday
and posted their best weekly performance in a month, as
financials tracked Wall Street counterparts higher ahead of big
U.S. banks earnings.

The S&P/ASX 200 index finished 0.5 percent, or 28.33
points, higher at 5,765.10.

The benchmark rose 1.1 percent on Thursday and added over 1
percent on the week, its strongest rise since the week ended
June 16.

The day’s gains rode on a solid rise in energy and financial
stocks.

The Australian energy index recorded its best weekly
performance since mid-May, ending the day 2 percent higher on
overnight advances in oil prices, which came on the back of data
showing stronger Chinese demand for crude. .

Aussie energy sector bellwether Woodside Petroleum,
was up nearly 2 percent.

The Australian financial index followed U.S.
financials higher as investors bought in before second
quarter earnings kicked-off with three of the biggest U.S. banks
reporting results.

The Aussie big banks rose in a range of 0.3 percent to 1
percent and were the biggest contributors to overall gains.

New Zealand’s benchmark S&P/NZX 50 index added 0.5
percent or 38.88 points to 7,649.77.

The benchmark posted a fifth straight week of gains, adding
0.4 percent.

Auckland International Airport and Fisher & Paykel
Healthcare Corp were the main index’s biggest gainers
by weight, up 0.9 percent and 0.5 percent respectively.

(Reporting by Rushil Dutta in Bengaluru; Editing by Richard
Borsuk)