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Australia shares supported by banks, construction firms

Published on May 28, 2014 10:50 AM

SYDNEY/WELLINGTON (Reuters) - Australian shares edged higher on Wednesday, supported by another record-close for the S&P 500 and interest in banking stocks, though overall gains were capped by a slide in gold producers after bullion prices dropped overnight.

A rise in the 'Big Four' banks underpinned the sector as investors chased their high yields. Westpac Banking Corp added 0.4 per cent, and Commonwealth Bank of Australia rose 0.2 per cent to all-time highs of A$81.85. Among mid-tier banks, Bank of Queensland edged 0.1 per cent higher.

The S&P/ASX 200 index gained 16.6 points, or 0.3 per cent, to 5,528.3 by 0206 GMT. The market finished a choppy session flat on Tuesday.

The benchmark hit a near 6-year high of 5,554.5 points on April 29, but has largely drifted sideways this month with traders blaming a lack of catalysts for the tepid performance.

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