April 30, 2013 / 6:31 AM / 5 years ago

Australian shares rally to highest close since June 2008, ANZ soars

(Updates to close)

SYDNEY, April 30 (Reuters) - Australian shares climbed 1.3 percent on Tuesday to close at its highest level in almost five years, led by sharp gains in the financial sector as Australia and New Zealand Banking Group jumped to a record high after a strong earnings report.

ANZ, Australia’s fourth-largest bank, soared 5.8 percent to an all-time high of A$31.84, after it reported a 10 percent rise in first-half cash earnings to A$3.18 billion ($3.29 billion) and announced a forecast-beating dividend of A$0.73, up 11 percent from the previous year.

The upbeat earnings prompted broad gains in the financial sector, with the Commonwealth Bank of Australia up 2.6 percent and National Australia Bank rising 2.8 percent

Top telecommunications provider Telstra Ltd jumped 1 percent to A$4.98, its highest point since August 2005 as investors chased high yields on the back of the market rally. Telstra currently yields at 5.7 percent.

The S&P/ASX 200 index advanced 65.4 points to finish at 5,191.2, its highest close since June 30, 2008, according to the latest data. The market added 0.6 percent on Monday.

New Zealand’s benchmark NZX 50 index finished the session up 0.7 percent or 33.4 points to an all-time closing high of 4,614.3. (Reporting by Thuy Ong; Editing by Shri Navaratnam)

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