Australia shares rally as global markets rebound
(Adds details, comments, stocks on the move) SYDNEY, Feb 6 (Reuters) - Australian shares rallied 0.9 percent on Wednesday, led by financials after Wall Street rebounded on solid U.S. earnings and data showed the global economy continuing to improve. Banks were firmer with Westpac Banking Corp leading gains, jumping 1.3 percent. "We're following on from a pretty good lead form global markets last night," said Steve Daghlian, market analyst at Commonwealth Securities, noting that the market is up about 5.6 percent this year. "The market has been performing well for the past couple of months, we're up for the 12th time in 15 trading sessions." The benchmark S&P/ASX 200 index was 44.1 points higher at 4,926.8 as of 0055 GMT. The benchmark index fell 0.5 percent on Tuesday. Global iron ore miners were stronger. BHP Billiton Ltd edged up 0.5 percent while rival Rio Tinto Ltd was up 0.8 percent. Food retailers rallied, Woolworths Ltd and Wesfarmers Ltd posted gains of 2 percent and 1.8 percent respectively. Defensives were mostly firmer, blood products maker CSL Ltd rallied 1.7 percent and utility Origin Energy jumped 1.1 percent, but telecommunications giant Telstra Ltd bucked the trend, dropping 0.8 percent. "If we are to break the 4,950 barrier, company fundamentals need to continue to outperforma and macro issues need to remain subdued," said Evan Lucas, market strategist at IG Markets. Official data showed Australian retail turnover for December and the fourth quarter fell 0.2 percent. The weaker-than-expected retail sales data added to the case for further lowering of interest rates this year. U.S. stocks climbed on Tuesday, recovering a day after the market's biggest sell-off since November, as stronger-than-expected earnings brightened the profit picture. New Zealand's benchmark NZX 50 index is closed for the Waitangi Day public holiday. STOCKS ON THE MOVE * Australian rail operator Asciano rose 0.6 percent. The company said unions had extended a strike planned for later this week to 48 hours, which will prevent at least 600,000 tonnes of coal from reaching port. (0053 GMT) * Galaxy Resources surged 7.8 percent after it said its Jiangsu plant operations have recommenced and expects the plant to be fully operational and producing lithium carbonate within the week. (0054 GMT) (Reporting by Thuy Ong; Editing by Eric Meijer)
DAVOS, Switzerland - Central banks have done their best to rescue the world economy by printing money and politicians must now act fast to enact structural reforms and pro-investment policies to boost growth, central bankers said on Saturday.