Australia shares rise to 5-yr closing high after weak job data
(Updates to close)
SYDNEY, Sept 12 (Reuters) - Australian shares rose 0.2 percent on Thursday, extending their rally to a fifth straight session on post-election optimism and growing signs of China's economic strength, with some investors pricing in another rate cut after worse-than-expected job data.
Australia's statistics office reported employment fell by a surprising 10,800 jobs in August, pushing the jobless rate to a four-year high of 5.8 percent -- which could add weight to the case for a cut in interest rates by the central bank.
The S&P/ASX 200 index added 8.1 points to 5,242.5, its highest close since June 26, 2008. The benchmark advanced 0.6 percent on Wednesday.
New Zealand's benchmark NZX 50 index inched up 0.1 percent to 4,641.5.
New Zealand's central bank held its benchmark cash rate steady at 2.5 percent on Thursday, as markets had expected. It said it expected to hold rates steady for the rest of the year although it warned higher rates will be needed next year to cope with the expected growth of inflationary pressures from the housing and building sectors.
(Reporting By Maggie Lu Yueyang; Editing by Kim Coghill)
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