Australia shares close at 20-month high

Thu Jan 17, 2013 12:20am EST

(Updates to close)
    SYDNEY, Jan 17 (Reuters) - Australian shares rose 0.4
percent to a 20-month high, with gains across all sectors as
data showing an unexpected fall in Australian employment in
December increased the chances for another interest rate cut.
    The S&P/ASX 200 index was 18.2 points higher at
4,756.6, according to latest data. On Wednesday, the index
gained 0.5 percent to 4,738.4.
    New Zealand's benchmark NZX 50 index rallied 0.7
percent, or 27.6 points to 4,196.8, hovering at five-year highs.

 (Reporting by Thuy Ong; Editing by Richard Borsuk)