Australia shares rally as global markets rebound

Tue Feb 5, 2013 8:04pm EST

(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)
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After wave of QE, onus shifts to leaders to boost economy

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