Australia shares edge up on bargain-hunting, gold stocks

Thu Jan 23, 2014 8:29pm EST

SYDNEY, Jan 24 (Reuters) - Australian shares edged up 0.2
percent on Friday morning, with a rebound in miners offseting
selling in banks.
   Gold stocks were boosted by firmer bullion prices, while  
bargain-hunters snapped up stocks that had been hit hard in the
previous session.
    Global miner BHP Billiton Ltd rose 0.5 percent, and
rival Rio Tinto Ltd gained 1.1 percent.
    Gold stocks shone in morning trade after gold surged more
than 2 percent on its safe-haven appeal. Newcrest Mining Ltd
 jumped 6.2 percent and OZ Minerals rose 43.7
percent.
    "This really helped those gold miners coming off their lows.
We also saw iron ore break that losing streak. Overall it
doesn't look like the situation is quite as bad, " said Stan
Shamu, market strategist at IG.
    "We might continue to see the market take up a bit of
momentum, as the recent losses actually present some
opportunities for investors to get involved in some
underperforming stocks," he said.
    The S&P/ASX 200 index added 9.7 points to 5,272.7 by
0106 GMT. The benchmark fell 1.1 percent on Thursday, hit by
disappointing factory data from China.
    The local market kicked off with a soft lead from Wall
Street, which also fell on China data and a mixed bag of U.S.
corporate earnings.
    The Big Four banks were mostly weaker. National Australia
Bank lost 0.2 percent, while Australia and New Zealand
Banking Group fell 0.4 percent. Westpac Bank was down
0.2 pct while Commonwealth Bank of Australia was flat. 
    Energy producers gained on the back of firmer oil prices.
Woodside Petroleum Ltd added 1.0 percent and Origin Energy
Ltd rose 0.8 percent.
    Shares in retailer Reject Shop Ltd plunged 24
percent after saying its first-half net profit could fall as
much as 17 percent because of weak margins and the cost of new
store openings.
    New Zealand's benchmark NZX 50 index fell 0.7
percent to 4,866.7.
    

   

 (Reporting by Maggie Lu Yueyang; Editing by Eric Meijer)
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