Australia shares up 0.5 pct; miners bounce on China PMI

Wed Jan 23, 2013 10:10pm EST

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MELBOURNE, Jan 24 (Reuters) - Australian shares rose 0.5
percent in afternoon trade on Thursday, reversing earlier
losses, as a measure of growth in China's factory sector
accelerated to a two-year high in January, boosting local
miners.
    The HSBC flash purchasing managers' index (PMI) rose to 51.9
in January, the highest since January 2011..
    The positive read from China, Australia's top export market,
helped BHP Billiton recover earlier losses.
    The benchmark S&P/ASX 200 index was up 24.7 points
at 4,812.5 by 0248 GMT. It rose 0.2 percent to 4,787.8 on
Wednesday, the highest close in almost 21 months.  
    "Resistance levels are going to kick in. We expected a
positive day, however watch for profit-taking as we enter 4,800
to 4,810," said Evan Lucas, strategist at IG Markets.
    Top banks were all higher, led by a 1.5 percent rise in
National Australia Bank.
    The country's leading telecommunications company Telstra
Corp gained 1.1 percent.     
    New Zealand's benchmark NZX 50 index inched up 0.1
percent to 4,193.0.
    
    STOCKS ON THE MOVE: 
   * BHP Billiton rose 0.3 percent to A$37.16, recouping earlier
losses on the China manufacturing data. BHP had fallen in early
trade. Citi lowered its recommendation on the stock to
"neutral".
    (0243 GMT)
    
    * Fortescue Metals Group Ltd, Australia's
third-biggest iron ore miner, rose 0.3 percent to A$4.68, after
it said it lifted shipments by 32 percent in the December
quarter from a year ago. 
    (0243 GMT) 
    
    * Shares in Australia's Linc Energy surged 27.3 
percent to A$2.75, a day after it said two independent reports
had confirmed it is sitting on potentially large resources of
shale oil in South Australia. 
    (0243 GMT)
    
    * OZ Minerals Ltd slid 6.6 percent to A$6.83 after
the company posted a drop in its December quarter production.
[ID:nWNAS000WV)
    (0242 GMT)

 (Reporting by Miranda Maxwell and Maggie Lu Yueyang; Editing by
Muralikumar Anantharaman)
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