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Australian shares touch decade-best levels

| Updated: January 05, 2018 11:37:55

Australian shares hit 10-year high

Australian shares rose to their best level in nearly 10 years on Thursday, with miners and healthcare stocks at the forefront.

The S&P/ASX 200 index advanced 0.5 per cent to 6,102.2, its highest since January 2008. The benchmark had risen 0.2 per cent on Wednesday, reports Reuters.

Aussie shares were propped up by miner BHP Billiton, which also has a large exposure to oil, and Woodside Petroleum, after oil prices shot through the roof over escalating tensions in Iran, a major oil and gas producer.

BHP rose advanced 1.4 per cent to its highest since May, 2015, and was headed for its eighth straight session of gains, while Woodside surged to a near two-and-a-half year high.

The Australian energy index climbed as much as 1.0 per cent to its highest since July, 2015.

Elsewhere, a source said Vale SA is in talks with BHP over the future of their joint venture, Samarco Mineração SA, with a buyout of BHP’s stake in the venture by the Brazilian miner possibly on the table.

Healthcare giants CSL Ltd and Cochlear Ltd also contributed to the gains on the index, rising 1.6 per cent and 2.6 per cent, respectively.

Toll road developer Transurban Group capped the gains on the index, dropping 1.1 per cent to its lowest in over three weeks.

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