Australia shares up, BHP gains on higher iron ore output
MELBOURNE, Jan 23 (Reuters) - Australian shares rose 0.4 percent on Wednesday as top miner BHP Billiton gained after lifting iron ore production, and banks and insurers advanced following Japan's stimulus measures and a rise on Wall Street to fresh five-year highs. The benchmark S&P/ASX 200 index was up 20 points at 4,798.8 by 2317 GMT. It finished flat on Tuesday. New Zealand's NZX 50 index rose 0.3 percent to 4,198.5. On Wall Street, bank and commodity shares led the Standard & Poor's 500 to a fresh five-year closing high. Copper rose to its highest level in more than a week. Top miner BHP rose 1.2 percent after it reported a 3 percent rise in iron ore production in the December quarter. (Reporting by Miranda Maxwell; Editing by Stephen Coates)
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