Australia shares up 0.5 pct on strong miners, U.S. hopes
(Updates to opening levels) CANBERRA, Nov 20 (Reuters) - Australian shares rose 0.5 percent early on Tuesday, led by miners on firmer metal prices, with the broader market finding support from encouraging U.S. housing data and hopes that U.S. lawmakers will be able to resolve the budget crisis. Top miner BHP Billiton Ltd climbed 1.4 percent and Rio Tinto Ltd jumped 1.8 percent. The benchmark S&P/ASX 200 was 22.8 points higher at 4,384.2 as of 2317 GMT. The index rose 0.6 percent on Monday. New Zealand's benchmark NZX 50 index rose 0.8 percent to 3,975.8. Shares of New Zealand's Fletcher Building Ltd surged almost 4 percent to their highest in more than a year, after the company said it expected at least a 12 percent rise in earnings this year. (Reporting By Maggie Lu Yueyang; Editing by Chris Gallagher)
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