Australia shares rally on miners and banks

(Updates to close)

SYDNEY, Oct 5 (Reuters) - Australian shares rose 0.9 percent on Friday, lifted by mining and banking stocks as the market was supported by a fourth day of gains on Wall Street ahead of a U.S. payrolls report later in the day.

The number of Americans filing new claims for unemployment benefits rose only slightly last week after a big drop the week before, the Labor Department reported on Thursday, raising hopes that Friday's closely watched non-farm payrolls report would show improvement.

The benchmark S&P/ASX 200 index

rose 42 points to 4,494.4, its highest close since Aug 1, 2011, according to the latest data. The benchmark rose 2.4 percent this week.

New Zealand's benchmark NZX 50 index

finished 0.6 percent or 22.9 points higher to 3,904.9.

(Reporting by Thuy Ong; Editing by Kim Coghill)

((thuy.ong@thomsonreuters.com)(+61 2 9373 1236))

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