Australia shares climb on Wall St, upbeat China PMI
* Australian shares gain across most sectors, gold falls
* Better-than-expected China PMI survey boosts market (Adds analysis, quotes, stocks on the move)
By Thuy Ong and Gyles Beckford
SYDNEY/WELLINGTON, June 23 (Reuters) - Australian shares added 0.7 percent on Monday, underpinned by gains across most sectors after a rise on Wall Street, while investors cheered a Chinese manufacturing survey that showed activity expanded in June for the first time in six months.
Investors took heart from U.S. stocks, which rose on Friday, driving the Dow and the S&P 500 to close at record highs as the shares of 330 companies hit 52-week highs on the New York Stock Exchange.
The 'Big Four' banks all posted gains with blue chips such as Commonwealth Bank of Australia and Westpac Banking Corp both added 0.5 percent. Among mid-tier banks, Bank of Queensland Ltd climbed 1.6 percent.
The S&P/ASX 200 index gained 38.4 points to 5,457.9 by 0156 GMT. The benchmark fell 0.9 percent on Friday, but rose 0.3 percent for the week, snapping a three-week slide.
Elsewhere, the HSBC/Markit Flash China Manufacturing PMI rose to 50.8 in June from May's final reading of 49.4, offering new signs the world's second-largest economy is stabilising.
BHP Billiton Ltd and Rio Tinto Ltd jumped 1.3 percent and 2.6 percent, respectively. World No. 4 iron-ore miner Fortescue Metals Group Ltd leapt 5.5 percent.
"Fears of iron ore oversupply had coupled with waning consumer sentiment and cast a dour complexion on the domestic market in recent times," said Niall King, a sales trader at CMC Markets in a note to clients. "This morning's rally is all the more welcome
The gold sector was the market's only weakness as bullion dropped as investors took profit, a day after the metal's biggest rise in nine months. Newcrest Mining Ltd slipped 0.3 percent, while Regis Resources Ltd declined 0.9 percent. St Barbara Ltd slumped 6.7 percent after also appointing a new managing director and CEO.
Echo Entertainment Group Ltd jumped 3.6 percent to 1-month highs of A$3.19 after signing an MoU with Chow Tai Fook Enterprises and Far East Consortium (Australia) to prepare a detailed proposal for an entertainment precinct and resort development.
Ten Network Holdings Ltd bounced 6.1 percent after reports the company has attracted interest from private equity firms. Shares in Ten recouped after a slump on Friday as the embattled network warned of a cost rise and revenue fall.
Metcash Ltd added 2.9 percent after the company said its FY profit was hit by one-off costs, but revenue was up 3.2 percent to A$13.4 billion.
New Zealand's benchmark NZX-50 index was trading with a soft tone, easing 19.04 points or 0.37 percent to 5,125.99.
The biggest losers were gold miner Oceana Gold Ltd down 9.9 percent at NZ$3.38, mirroring a similar sized fall on the Australian boards, and accounting software developer Xero Ltd down 6.9 percent to NZ$26.01, an eight-month low.
The local market has been weighed recently by investors readying for an influx of new listings, mostly fledgling tech stocks.
Two of the new listings will debut this week, with travel booking firm Serko Ltd set for Tuesday after a NZ$22 million sale of new and existing shares.
The other is Gentrack Group Ltd, which has raised NZ$99 million, and is due to list on Wednesday.
There were mixed showings for retail stocks following the profit forecast downgrade by heavyweight Warehouse Ltd last week.
Outdoor goods retailer Kathmandu Ltd was up 2.6 percent at NZ$3.50, but clothing retailer Hallenstein Ltd was down 3.9 percent at NZ$3.00. (Editing by Jacqueline Wong)
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