Australia close up 0.8 pct on strong financial and retail stocks

Mon Feb 25, 2013 12:30am EST

(Updates to close)
    SYDNEY, Feb 25 (Reuters) - Australian shares rose 0.8
percent on Monday, ending off their highs after a survey showed
a pull-back in China's factory activity, but strong financial
and retail stocks kept the index near a 4-1/2 year peak hit last
week. 
    The benchmark S&P/ASX 200 index gained 37.7 points
to 5,055.8, according to the latest data. The index rose 0.8
percent on Friday, but lost 0.3 percent last week. 
    New Zealand's benchmark NZX 50 index rose 0.3
percent to 4,226.4.

 (Reporting by Maggie Lu Yueyang; Editing by Richard Borsuk)
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