aussie stocks at 1 month high

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    SYDNEY, April 2 (Reuters) - Australian shares rose 2.6
    percent to a one-month high on Wednesday, led up by financials
    such as Macquarie Group after a capital boost by Lehman
    Brothers soothed concerns over troubled credit markets.
    While the Lehman news, and a hefty writedown at Swiss bank
    UBS , raised hopes that badly bruised financial
    institutions may be on the road to recovery, analysts warned that
    there may be more pain to come.
    "If you look at the trigger for this overnight, the news
    hasn't been that favourable. So it's really quite a perverse
    reaction," said Damien Boey, equity strategist at Credit Suisse
    First Boston.
    "Certainly, the U.S. financial woes are not over. Policy
    prescriptions so far by the Fed may help to ease some of the
    short-term liquidity problems but they actually don't do a lot
    for the capital problems of the banks."
    Lehman raised $4 billion of capital after an offering of
    convertible preferred shares, bolstering its balance sheet and
    easing fears it was facing the same predicament as fallen
    investment bank Bear Stearns [ID:nN01215030].
    Meanwhile, Swiss Bank UBS wrote down an additional $19
    billion in its first quarter, but markets took the upbeat view
    that banks are wiping their books clean of investments tied to
    the U.S. subprime crisis [ID:nL01419180].
    Australia's benchmark S&P/ASX 200 index <.AXJO> rose 141.7
    points to 5,502.9, based on the latest available data, a level
    not seen since March 3.
    The index is now 8.2 percent above its 2008 closing low seen
    on March 18, though it is still down 13.2 percent since the start
    of the year.
    New Zealand's benchmark NZX-50 index <.NZ50> rose 1.7
    percent, or 59.23 points, to a one-month high of 3,592.79. Top
    stock Telecom Corp Ltd closed up 0.8 percent at NZ$3.87.

    FINANCIALS RALLY
    Financial firms were among the day's biggest gainers and the
    financial services index <.AXFJ> rose 4.9 percent on the day.
    Macquarie Group, Australia's top investment bank, jumped 9.9
    percent to a five-week closing high of A$57.02.
    The top banks all rose, with National Australia Bank Ltd
    adding 4.7 percent to A$30.50 and Westpac Banking Corp
    gaining 6.5 percent to A$24.92.
    But gold miners fell after bullion prices fell to a
    two-month low on Tuesday. Gold came off as gains in the U.S.
    dollar dimmed the safe haven appeal of the precious metal.
    Newcrest Mining dropped 4.9 percent to A$32.05, Sino
    Gold Mining lost 6.9 percent to A$7.01 and Lihir Gold
    fell 4.5 percent to A$3.37.
    Other decliners included oil and gas producer Roc Oil Ltd
    which fell 3.5 percent to A$1.93 after it said final
    test results showed there was little recoverable oil at its
    Dunsborough-2 exploration well off Western Australia
 
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