AUSTRALIA

From Times Staff and Wire Reports

Stocks Reach Post-1987 High: Australian stocks rose Friday to close at the highest level since the global stock market crash in 1987, fueled by a surge in bullion prices and speculation of an imminent cut in Australian interest rates. The All Ordinaries Index of top Australian companies closed at 1782.9, up 0.4 point. On Thursday, the index rose to a high of 1,786.8, up 13.8 points, but closed lower. Analysts say the index is headed sharply higher if it can breach that level. The break could come today with the listing of retailer Woolworths. Woolworths begins trading at 2 p.m., Sydney time, after a $1.67 billion public share offer--the largest in Australian history.

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