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Australian shares closed more than 1% higher on Monday, as top lender Commonwealth Bank boosted financials, and energy and gold stocks climbed on strong underlying commodity prices.

The S&P/ASX 200 index rose 1.3% to 7,287.5, starting the week on a strong note after four straight weeks of losses.

The market also benefited from a strong Wall Street session at the end of last week, as investors entered the final quarter of 2021 in a buying mood.

Commonwealth Bank of Australia notched its best session in a year and a half and was the top gainer on the bourse with a 5.1% jump, after completing an oversubscribed off-market buy-back of about 67.7 million shares for A$6 billion ($4.36 billion).

Australian shares rise on financial, energy stock boost

Heavyweight financials climbed 2.6% in their best session since January, with National Australia Bank Ltd , Australia and New Zealand Banking Group and Westpac Banking Corp rising between 1.9% and 2.2%.

Financials stood out, said Damian Rooney, director of equity sales at Argonaut, adding the market rallied following the big move in the United States on Friday.

"September was a pretty miserable month for markets in general, so people are hoping October will start with a clean sheet," said Rooney.

Australian energy stocks added 1.4%, with major oil and gas explorers Santos Ltd and Woodside Petroleum ending 1.7% and 1.6% higher, respectively.

Meanwhile, the country's health minister, Greg Hunt, said the Delta outbreak appeared to have levelled off, with more than half the country in extended lockdowns and vaccination rates starting to approach national targets.

New Zealand's benchmark S&P/NZX 50 index closed 0.4% higher at 13,337.27.

Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern extended the level 3 lockdown in the country's biggest city Auckland, but said some restrictions will ease.

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