Australia shares jump 1 pct to 5-1/2 yr highs, David Jones soars

Wed Apr 9, 2014 2:20am EDT

(Updates to close)

SYDNEY, April 9 (Reuters) - Australian shares finished at 5-1/2 year highs on Wednesday, up 1.0 percent, as department store operator David Jones rocketed on a $2 billion takeover bid, triggering a buying frenzy in the retail sector.

A rebound on Wall Street overnight had already given the market early impetus, and an uptick in gold prices drove up bullion miners. Improved consumer confidence data on Wednesday further underpinned trading.

The S&P/ASX 200 index added 53.2 points to 5,463.8, surpassing the March 10 peak of 5,462.3. The benchmark has recovered from a low of 5,288.5 touched on March 20 as China took modest steps to stimulate a slowing economy, and as investors piled into cheaper stocks.

New Zealand's benchmark NZX 50 index added 0.7 percent to 5,067.4.

(Reporting by Thuy Ong; Editing by Eric Meijer)