Australia shares gain on emerging markets relief, bargain hunting

Tue Jan 28, 2014 8:36pm EST

(Adds market events, share moves, analyst comments)
    SYDNEY, Jan 29 (Reuters) - Australian shares rose 0.7
percent on Wednesday, recovering slightly from a six-week low,
as investors found some relief from a rate hike by Turkey's
central bank and picked up stocks that had been sold off in the
previous session.
    The news of Turkey's rate increase stirred hopes that the
move would short-circuit a vicious cycle of selling in emerging
markets and revive risk appetite in the developed world.
 
    A recovery in resources stocks, which tumbled the previous
day, helped edge the Australian market into positive territory.
    Iron ore producer Fortescue Metals Group Ltd gained
2.8 percent and Rio Tinto Ltd added 1.8 percent. Atlas
Iron Ltd jumped 6.8 percent after the company raised
its full-year iron ore production guidance after a record second
quarter. 
    The S&P/ASX 200 index was up 32.6 points at 5,207.7
by 0106 GMT, after four sessions of losses. The benchmark fell
1.3 percent on Tuesday.
    Wall Street bounced back overnight after an upbeat result
from pharmaceutical giant Pfizer Inc, snapping the Dow's
five-day losing streak. 
    "There is some relief that comes with positive trading in
the U.S. and Europe," said Scott Schuberg, CEO at Rivkin
Securities.
    "The theory that traders still assume the Federal Reserve
will continue to step in if it witnesses market shocks wasn't
the only thing that helped market last night," Schuberg said,
adding that India and Turkey's rate hikes also buoyed sentiment.
    Wednesday will bring the conclusion of the Fed's two-day
policy meeting, with investors anxious to hear whether the Fed
will cut another $10 billion from its monthly bond-buying
programme, which it began tapering in December.
    Analysts also said investors were a bit cautious ahead of
the corporate earnings season.
    "At the moment the market is still pricing in 13 percent
earnings growth and it's the first time in three years that
we've seen earnings growth in the market so that's a positive,"
said Julia Lee, an equities analyst at Bell Direct.
    "The February earnings season will give us a better idea of
where earnings are headed for the full year."
    Shares in insurance companies also helped underpin the
market with QBE Insurance Group Ltd climbing 2.2
percent and Suncorp Group Ltd rising 1.2 percent.
    Drillsearch Energy Ltd jumped 6.4 percent to a
one-year high of A$1.52 after the company raised its production
guidance. 
    Forge Group Ltd tumbled 10.6 percent after the
engineering firm said it expects a 2014 full-year loss due to
cost pressures and challenging domestic market conditions.
 
    New Zealand's benchmark NZX 50 index edged 0.5
percent higher to 4,871.5.

 (Reporting by Maggie Lu Yueyang and Thuy Ong; Editing by Chris
Gallagher)