(Updates with movements in early trade)
SYDNEY May 10 Australian shares edged up 0.3
percent to hit fresh five-year highs on Friday morning, as
strong gains in the banking sector offset weakness in mining
stocks and a fall in Wall Street overnight.
Top lender the Commonwealth Bank of Australia added
0.7 percent while Westpac Banking Corp rose 0.6
percent. The sector has been a top performer recently, bouyed by
stellar profits and attractive dividend yields, and has been the
main driver of the market's rally in the past few weeks.
The benchmark S&P/ASX 200 index climbed 15.5 points
to 5,213.9, notching fresh 5 year highs by 0013 GMT. The index
slipped 1.4 points on Thursday.
Global miners BHP Billiton Ltd and Rio Tinto Ltd
slipped 0.1 percent and 0.3 percent respectively,
weighed down by weaker copper prices.
Copper fell on Thursday as price charts suggested a pull
back following a rally to three-week highs on expectations of
rising demand from China.
New Zealand's benchmark NZX 50 index was trading
flat or down 0.2 points to 4,639.2.
(Reporting by Thuy Ong; Editing by Shri Navaratnam)