(Updates to close)
SYDNEY, Feb 8 Australian shares rose 0.7
percent, led by financial and mining stocks as investor
sentiment was bolstered by positive data from China that showed
an economic rebound from a surge in trade.
Chinese exports grew 25 percent year-on-year in January
while imports surged 28.8 percent. January's trade surplus was
$29.2 billion versus a market expectation of $22 bilion.
Banks all rose, headed by a 2.2 percent surge by Australia
and New Zealand Banking Group to a 5-year high.
Global iron ore miners Rio Tinto Ltd and BHP
Billiton Ltd finished the day firmer, rising 1.3
percent and 0.8 percent respectively.
The S&P/ASX 200 index ended 35.6 points higher to
4,971.3 according to latest data. The benchmark index rose 0.3
percent on Thursday.
New Zealand's benchmark NZX 50 index finished the
day 0.7 percent, or 30.5 points higher to 4,225.7.
(Reporting by Thuy Ong; Editing by Michael Perry)