Australia shares bounce on upbeat China PMI surveys, resources benefit

Mon Jun 30, 2014 10:23pm EDT

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* ASX 200 reverses earlier losses to rise 0.1 percent

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By Thuy Ong and Naomi Tajitsu

SYDNEY/WELLINGTON, July 1 (Reuters) - Sydney stocks turned higher after an early slide on Tuesday, as resources shares rose after upbeat manufacturing surveys from China suggested that Australia's largest export market is regaining its footing after a loss of momentum at the start of the year.

China's official Purchasing Managers' Index rose to 51 in June from May's 50.8, the National Bureau of Statistics said. A separate private survey by HSBC also PMI showed expansion for the first time in six months, signs of an improving outlook for Asia's economic powerhouse. [ID:nS7N0MG04E ]

BHP Billiton Ltd gained 0.8 percent and Rio Tinto Ltd climbed 1.8 percent. Among bullion producers, Newcrest Mining Ltd added 2.5 percent, and Northern Star Resources Ltd jumped 3.6 percent. Copper and gold both rose overnight.

The S&P/ASX 200 index, which slipped 0.2 percent in early trade, bounced back to add 7.2 points, or 0.1 percent, at 5,403.4 by 0220 GMT. The benchmark dropped 0.9 percent on Monday to 1-1/2 week lows and lost 1.8 percent for June.

Investors are also eyeing the Reserve Bank of Australia's policy-setting meeting later on Tuesday. All 24 economists polled by Reuters expect to see the cash rate unchanged at a record low of 2.5 percent.

"The key takeaway phrase from the last statement was the 'period of stability in interest rates', so the market will scrutinise the wording for any change in this position," said William Leys, a sales trader at CMC Markets in a note.

Among the 'Big Four' banks, Westpac Banking Corp slipped 0.1 percent, and National Australia Bank was down 0.2 percent. NAB said it is currently exploring possible strategic partnering for custody services.

TFS Corporation Ltd soared 5.8 to two-week highs of A$1.75 after saying it will acquire 364 hectares of Indian sandalwood plantations and estimating its net profit in fiscal 2014 will be at least A$70 million.

On the downside, Australia's Ansell Ltd fell 2.8 percent to near two-week lows of A$19.28 on Tuesday after the world's biggest maker of condoms and gloves announced a restructuring that will cost $124.7 million and 250 jobs.

New Zealand's benchmark NZX-50 index inched up a point to 5,142.38, supported by a 2.5 percent rise in New Zealand Oil and Gas after the company said that an agreement on royalty payments from the Kupe oil and gas field would lift profits.

Gold explorer OceanaGold rose 1.7 percent, boosted by higher gold prices, while the company's announcement on Monday that it had secured credit refinancing also supported shares. (Reporting by Thuy Ong; Editing by Shri Navaratnam)

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