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Australia stocks near 10-year high as Asia-Pacific markets stay largely flat

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Australia’s stock market hit a 2017 high Friday as it approached its best showing in a decade.

Asia-Pacific equities struggled for direction Friday, following a lack of movement in most U.S. stocks overnight, as investors seek new drivers after an October to remember. Australian stocks stood out, hitting fresh 2017 highs on gains in commodity prices. The S&P/ASX 200 XJO, +0.48%   was recently up 0.5% at 5,964 — hitting a 2017 high for the second day in a row — and moving closer to 2015’s peak of 5,996.90. Topping that would put the index at its best level in 10 years. BHP Billiton BHP, +1.24%   rose 1.3%, putting the week’s gain at 4.2%, while Rio Tinto RIO, +1.06%   added 1% to hit a six-year high. Higher metals prices were helping Korean steel producers, with Posco 005490, +0.77%   climbing 0.6%. But Korea’s Kospi SEU, +0.46%   was flat and most benchmarks in the region were within 0.2% of Thursday’s closing levels. Japanese markets were closed Friday for a holiday.
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