Australia shares enjoy biggest 1-day gain in 3-1/2 months on China PMI

Thu May 22, 2014 2:26am EDT

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SYDNEY May 22 (Reuters) - Australian shares rose 1 percent on Thursday, as an upbeat Chinese manufacturing survey helped miners claw back recent steep losses from slumping iron ore prices.

China's factory sector turned in its best performance in five months in May, a preliminary HSBC survey showed, though overall manufacturing growth still contracted slightly in a suggestion that the outlook remains murky.

China is Australia's largest export market.

The S&P/ASX 200 index advanced 55.3 points to 5,479.9 at the close of trade, its biggest one-day percentage gain since February 12. The benchmark added 0.1 percent on Wednesday.

New Zealand's benchmark NZX 50 index added 0.4 percent to 5,128.8. (Reporting by Thuy Ong; Editing by Shri Navaratnam)