Australia shares end up on strong banks, miners; await key data

Mon Apr 22, 2013 3:12am EDT

(Adds details, comments)
    SYDNEY, April 22 (Reuters) - Australian shares closed 0.7
percent higher on Monday as major miners and banks advanced on
short-covering and as gold prices rebounded, but buyers were
cautious ahead of key economic reports after a recent run of
weak data suggested the global economic recovery may have
stalled.  
    The big four banks all ended higher, led by Australia's
biggest lender Commonwealth Bank of Australia rising
0.8 percent.  
    "We see good resilience in their share prices, and that
appears to reflect the investment fundamentals that are driving
investors towards these stocks, which is the higher dividend
yield," said Michael McCarthy, chief marker strategist at CMC
Markets in Sydney.
    On the whole, however, investors were guarded ahead of some
key economic data due later this week, said Biyi Cheng, head of
dealing Asia Pacific at City Index in Sydney.
    "The market lacks a clear direction for the moment. They are
waiting for some key economic data for further indication of the
growth outlook," Cheng said, referring to the HSBC China
purchasing managers index (PMI) due on Tuesday and Australia's
March inflation numbers due on Wednesday.
     The S&P/ASX 200 index added 34.7 points to 4,966.6,
according to the latest data, taking its cue from a strong
finish on Wall Street on Friday and a rebound in gold prices.  
    The benchmark rose 0.2 percent on Friday, but suffered its
biggest weekly loss in almost one month as a plunge in
commodities and concerns about global growth heightened worries
about demand for the resource-rich nation's raw materials. 
    Recent soft data, particularly from China and the United
States, have raised fears that the global economic recovery may
be stalling.  
    Global miner BHP Billiton pared earlier losses and
ended 1.0 percent higher, while rival Rio Tinto Ltd 
jumped 1.5 percent. 
    Chris Weston, chief Market Strategist at IG Markets in
Melbourne, said that investors might be struggling to assess the
performance and outlook of some of the resources stocks,
following the commodities rout last week. 
    "It's confusing because a lot of people who look at value,
or perception of value, will probably say that a lot of these
names are very cheap right now," Weston said. 
    On the other hand, the concerns about global growth could
trigger earnings downgrade for miners, he said.
    Some gold miners were lifted by rebounding gold prices, as
gold jumped more than 1 percent on Monday after a rebound above
$1,400 ignited technical buying. 
    OceanaGold Corp jumped 6.3 percent to A$1.96 and
Regis Resources Ltd gained 1.1 percent to A$3.54.
    OZ Minerals dived 10.6 percent to close at a
ten-year low of A$4.30, after cutting its copper production
forecast for 2013 to 82,000-88,000 tonnes.  
    Tiger Resources Limited shares fell 10.9 percent,
as investors were concerned about a government ban on exports of
copper concentrates from the Democratic Republic of Congo,
despite the company's statement saying the ban would have no
material impact on its operations. 
    New Zealand's benchmark NZX 50 index rose 0.9
percent to close at 4,483.7. 
    
    

 (Reporting By Maggie Lu Yueyang; Additional Reporting By
Roselina Press; Editing by Shri Navaratnam)
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