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SYDNEY, July 24 Australian shares closed 0.2 percent higher on Thursday, extending a six-year high as Wall Street climbed and sentiment was boosted by a preliminary Chinese manufacturing index rising at its fastest pace in 18 months.
The S&P/ASX 200 index added 11.1 points to 5,587.8 at the close of trade, a fresh 6-year high. The benchmark added 0.6 percent on Wednesday.
New Zealand's benchmark NZX 50 index added 0.5 percent to 5,174.7. (Reporting by Thuy Ong; Editing by Eric Meijer)