Australia shares up in thin trade ahead of rate decision

Mon Nov 5, 2012 8:11pm EST

(Adds details, comments)
    CANBERRA, Nov 6 (Reuters) - Australian shares edged 0.3
percent higher in light trading as investors cautiously await a
rate decision from the central bank.
    Fifteen out of 20 economists surveyed by Reuters expect the
Reserve Bank of Australia to cut its cash rate 25 basis points
to 3.0 percent at a board meeting on Tuesday, matching record
lows reached during the global financial crisis. 
    "You've got pretty much nothing going on, because everybody
is waiting for the U.S. election and the RBA rate decision,"
said Cameron Peacock, a market analyst at IG Markets. 
    The S&P/ASX 200 index added 12.1 points to 4,486.2
by 0108 GMT. The benchmark closed up 0.3 percent or 14.1 points
at 4,474.1 on Monday. 
    Some defensive stocks were firmer, with telecommunications
giant Telstra up 0.6 percent and blood products makers
CSL climbing 1.1 percent. 
    New Zealand's benchmark NZX 50 index inched up 0.6
percent to 3,929.8.
    
    STOCKS ON THE MOVE
    * The major banks all advanced, led by National Bank of
Australia Ltd gaining 1.3 percent. 
    It had lost ground in the past four sessions, after saying
on Oct. 31 that its cash earnings fell 7.9 percent in its fiscal
second half, the first fall in three years. 
    (0048 GMT)
    
    * Oil and gas producer Transerv Energy Ltd rallied
11.1 percent after it said on Monday that its partner Alcoa
 had confirmed its commitment to the Warro gas project in
Western Australia. 
    (0049 GMT)

 (Reporting by Maggie Lu Yueyang; Editing by Edwina Gibbs)