Australia shares edge up, CBA leads

Sun Jan 13, 2013 8:14pm EST

(Adds details, comments, stocks on the move)
    SYDNEY, Jan 14 (Reuters) - Australian shares edged up 0.1
percent on Monday, led by the Commonwealth Bank of Australia
 while big miners were mainly softer as copper prices
inched lower after a boost last week from firm Chinese trade
data.
    The banking sector was mixed, with the Commonwealth Bank of
Australia and National Australia Bank leading gains, up
0.4 percent and 0.35 percent respectively. Westpac Banking Corp
 and Australia New Zealand Banking Group lost
0.9 percent and 0.4 percent respectively.
    Global miners BHP Billiton Ltd fell 0.6 percent
while Rio Tinto Ltd dropped 0.8 percent. Fortescue
Metals lost 1 percent.
    The S&P/ASX 200 index was 4.9 points higher at
4,714.4 at 0106 GMT. The index fell 0.3 percent last week,
snapping seven straight weeks of gains.
    "We're up fairly modestly," said Steven Daghlian, market
analyst at Commonwealth Securities. "The U.S. was up modestly
too, so we're taking that lead. Overall we're seeing the miners
only holding the market back slightly, but most other sectors
are actually trading higher so some gains are coming through."
    Defensives were strong. Australia's No.1 telecommunications
provider, Telstra, gained 0.6 percent while utility
provider AGL Energy rose 0.5 percent. Supermarket
retailers Wesfarmer and Woolworths were up 0.3
percent and 0.5 percent respectively.
    Gold miners were firm, with Newcest Mining up 0.7
percent while Northern Star Resources Ltd jumped 5.5
percent.
    Australian job advertisements in newspapers and on the
Internet fell again in December, a tenth consecutive month of
declines that pointed to softer demand for labour.
 
    "Economic news hasn't been that great. In terms of the
latest job advertisement numbers, this is not a great sign for
people who are looking for work," said Daghlian.
    New Zealand's benchmark NZX 50 index rose 0.4
percent to 4,147.
    
    STOCKS ON THE MOVE
    * BlueScope Steel fell 0.1 percent after it
announced 170 job cuts and reduced production in its cold
rolling, metal coated and painted steel production in Western
Port. It said costs of about A$17 million would be recouped
within a year. 
    

 (Reporting By Thuy Ong; Editing by Matt Driskill)
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