Australia shares sole gainers among Asia equities after holiday
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By Thuy Ong
SYDNEY, June 11 (Reuters) - Australian shares edged higher to become the sole climbers among major Asian equity bourses on Tuesday, as the market, reopening after a public holiday, played catch up with strong offshore rallies the previous day.
The market was supported by encouraging U.S. jobs data last Friday and by Japan's Nikkei stock average posting its biggest one-day rise since March 2011 on Monday.
It also saw a successful debut from in-vitro fertilisation company Virtus Health Ltd, which sparked hope of renewed life for the country's stalled initial public offering market.
But gains were limited as Asian shares fell to fresh 6-1/2 month lows on Tuesday, hurt by worries about slowing growth in China and uncertainty over when the U.S. Federal Reserve will move to scale back stimulus.
The S&P/ASX 200 index moved further away from a 4-1/2 month low hit last week to finish 0.4 percent higher at 4,757.1, led by gains in banks and defensive stocks.
"The market is somewhat volatile today, bouncing up and down with a fairly high range," said Damien Boey, equity strategist at Credit Suisse. "People are trying to digest what happened over the past few days when the market's been closed."
The benchmark lost 3.8 percent last week and has given up nearly 8 percent over one month, prompting some analysts to note that valuations were becoming attractive.
"Certainly the correction in the market recently has brought more value into the sharemarket and I think that will be embraced later in the year," said Craig James, chief equities economist at Commonwealth Securities.
Among defensives, blood products maker CSL Ltd rallied 1.4 percent and bionic ear maker Cochlear jumped 2.8 percent.
Banks underpinned the market, with Australia's fourth largest bank, Australia and New Zealand Banking Group, gaining 0.7 percent and top lender Commonwealth Bank of Australia climbing 0.6 percent.
Gainers included Straits Resources, which surged 50 percent to A$0.015, modestly bouncing back from a near uninterrupted decline since April 2012.
Gold miners sank after bullion slipped in Asian trading on Tuesday after Standard & Poor's revised up the United States' credit outlook to stable from negative, hurting bullion's safe-haven appeal.
Newcrest Mining Ltd and Regis Resources Ltd tumbled 2.6 percent and 2.9 percent respectively.
Australia's leading securities exchange ASX Ltd said on Monday it would raise A$553 million ($522 million) to contribute capital to its futures clearing facility and pay down debt, citing the need to meet new international capital standards. Shares in ASX Ltd were in a trading halt.
Australian business confidence remained lacklustre in May as improving activity in manufacturing, wholesaling and construction was offset by weakness in mining, a survey showed on Tuesday.
New Zealand's benchmark NZX 50 index slipped 0.2 percent or 9.8 points to finish at 4,463.6. (Additional reporting by Michael Sin; Editing by Edwina Gibbs)