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SYDNEY Nov 2 Australian shares inched up 0.1
percent on Friday, led by miners rallying on strong metal prices
and positive data from top consumer China, but gains were capped
by lingering worries over corporate earnings.
Investors were also cautious ahead of U.S. nonfarm payrolls
for October due for release later on Friday.
The S&P/ASX 200 index added 2.5 points to 4,460.1,
according to the latest data. On the week the benchmark was 0.3
percent lower, pulled down by Thursday's 1.3 percent drop, the
biggest one-day percentage loss since late July.
Global miner BHP Billiton Ltd climbed 1.8 percent,
while Rio Tinto Ltd jumped 2.0 percent, after top iron
ore consumer China posted an improved PMI data on
Television broadcaster Ten Network Holdings Ltd
soared 9.3 percent, after it said that it had completed the
long-anticipated sale of its Eye Corp outdoor advertising unit.
Meanwhile fund manager Perpetual Ltd said it had sold
about 3 percent of Ten's shares.
"From the PMI yesterday again we're seeing further evidence
of Asian growth stabilising, and U.S. numbers were strong. It's
clear investments are picking back up again in the U.S," said
Chris Weston, institutional dealer at IG Markets.
But analysts said corporate earnings remained a worry.
"Local company earnings as well as the international company
earnings into the next year maybe don't follow as expected by
the market in some sense," Akshay Chopra, an investment analyst
at Karara Capital, said.
Top lender National Australian Bank Ltd slipped 0.6
percent, retreating for the third day since Wednesday when it
reported a drop in cash profits for the first time in three
Other major banks were also weaker, except Commonwealth Bank
of Australia which inched up 0.2 percent.
Qantas Airways, the country's struggling flagship
airline, said it plans to focus on paying down debt after
curbing capital spending as part of a turnaround plan, pushing
its shares 0.4 percent higher.[ID: nL3E8M12XJ]
Australia's largest independent coal miner Whitehaven Coal
was down 0.7 percent, after its shareholders voted on
Thursday to keep the company's board intact, refusing to endorse
major shareholder Nathan Tinkler's move to oust the chairman and
New Zealand's benchmark NZX 50 index slipped 0.5
percent, or 17.8 points to 3,914.1.
(Reporting by Maggie Lu Yueyang; Editing by Sanjeev Miglani)