Australia shares rise, reach fresh three-week high

Thu Nov 29, 2012 8:00pm EST

(Adds details, comments)
    Sydney, Nov 30 (Reuters) - Australian shares rose 0.5
percent on Friday buoyed by shares in mining and banks as firmer
metals prices and a higher finish on Wall St helped the market
reach a fresh three-week high.
    Bellwether miner BHP Billiton Ltd added 0.9 percent
to $A34.50. The mining giant said it was succession planning
after reports the world's biggest miner was preparing for
changes at the top..
    Rio Tinto Ltd jumped 3.2 percent.
    Among the steelmakers, Fortescue Metals Group 
gained 1.3 percent. Banks were also strong, with National
Australia Bank leading gains, adding 1.3 percent. 
    The benchmark S&P/ASX 200 index was 22.5 points
higher at 4,500.2 by 0038 GMT. The benchmark rose 0.7 percent on
Thursday to a three-week high. 
    "We seem to be following the positive lead from offshore
last night," said Steven Daghlian, market analyst at
Commonwealth Securities.
    "It was always likely to be quite a good day, it's not just
the miners and banks that are doing great but pretty much all
the other sectors."
    The market may also get a push from Chinese PMI due over the
weekend, as a Reuters poll shows China's factory activity in
November probably expanded at its fastest pace in seven months,
the latest evidence a recovery in the vast manufacturing sector
was gathering momentum. 
    New Zealand's benchmark NZX 50 index rose 0.4
percent or 16.7 points to 4,033.5.
    
    STOCKS ON THE MOVE
    * Lynas Corp jumped 2.2 percent to $A0.69. The
Australian rare earths producer said it started operation at its
long-delayed Malaysia processing plant on Friday. 
    (0037 GMT)
    
    * New Zealand's Fonterra, the world's largest dairy
exporter, debuted its investment fund at nearly a 22 percent
premium. Shares in the new fund opened at NZ$6.66 from the issue
price of NZ$5.50, having raised NZ$525 million ($430 million) to
bolster its balance sheet and fund expansion plans. It last
traded at NZ$6.68.
    (0038 GMT)
    
    

 (Reporting by Thuy Ong; Editing by Michael Perry)