Australia shares close at 19-mth high
(Updates with close)
MELBOURNE Dec 28 (Reuters) - Australian shares rode iron ore stocks up to finish at a 19-month high on Friday, with a recovery in battered mining shares driving the market to its strongest annual gain since 2009.
The benchmark S&P/ASX 200 index rose 23.3 points to close at 4,671.3, according to the latest data, its highest close since June 2, 2011.
The benchmark is on track to post gains of around 15 percent for the year, its biggest rise since a 31 percent recovery in 2009 after the 2008 slump.
New Zealand's benchmark NZX 50 index rose 0.4 percent to finish at 4,080.9.
(Reporting by Victoria Thieberger and Sonali Paul; Editing by Eric Meijer)
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