Australian shares rally on Wall St, miners and banks firm

Sun May 5, 2013 8:17pm EDT

(Updates to open)

SYDNEY May 6 (Reuters) - Australian shares rallied 1 percent in early trade on Monday, buoyed by Wall St notching record highs after a surprisingly robust U.S. non-farms payroll report raised investor confidence and metals prices firmed.

Financials opened firmer, with Westpac Banking Corp adding 1.1 percent while top lender the Commonwealth Bank of Australia rose 0.9 percent.

Global miners BHP Billiton Ltd jumped 2.5 percent while rival Rio Tinto Ltd climbed 3.1 percent.

Non-farm payrolls rose by 165,000 last month and the unemployment rate fell to 7.5 percent, a four-year low, from 7.6 percent, the government said. In addition, hiring was much stronger than previously thought in February and March.

The benchmark S&P/ASX 200 index climbed 53.4 points to 5,182.9 by 0011 GMT. The index fell 0.6 percent last week and finished flat on Friday.

The Dow and S&P 500 advanced to all-time closing highs on Friday, with major indexes jumping 1 percent after the unexpectedly strong April jobs report eased fears of an economic slowdown.

New Zealand's benchmark NZX 50 index rose 0.5 percent, or 24.6 points to 4,568.9. (Reporting by Thuy Ong; Editing by Eric Meijer)

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