(Adds details, comments, stocks on the move)
SYDNEY, April 11 Australian shares rose 0.7
percent on Thursday, underpinned by the financial sector as
record overnight highs for the Dow Jones Industrial Average and
the S&P 500 boosted risk appetites.
Among banks, Westpac Banking Corp rallied 1.7
percent while biggest lender the Commonwealth Bank of Australia
climbed 1.1 percent.
The S&P/ASX 200 index added 31.4 points to 4,999.4
by 0201 GMT, after reaching an intraday high of 5,013.2. The
index fell 0.2 percent on Wednesday.
Miguel Audencial, sales trader at CMC Markets, said it's
hard to say if the market can stay above 5,000.
"If there is an indication that there will be a prolonged
quantitative easing in the U.S. further than the end of the
year, the market is likely to have a sustained rally," he said.
U.S. stocks climbed 1 percent on Wednesday with both the Dow
and S&P 500 ending at historic highs as cyclical shares led the
way higher for a second straight day.
Global miners were moderately softer. Rio Tinto Ltd
slipped 0.4 percent and rival BHP Billiton Ltd fell 0.6 percent.
Copper dipped on Wednesday, giving up some gains from the
previous session when it hit two-week highs, as some traders
locked in profits and other investors remain concerned about
sluggish demand amid weak Chinese copper imports.
Australia's employment fell a steeper-than-expected 36,100
in March as payback for a massive 74,000 increase the month
before, while the jobless rate rose to its highest in more than
three years at 5.6 percent.
Defensive stocks were mixed. Blood products maker CSL Ltd
climbed 1.8 percent while bionic hearing implant maker
Cochlear slipped 0.6 percent. Telecommunications giant
Telstra Ltd added 0.6 percent, but gas provider Origin
Energy lost 0.7 percent.
Gold miners were weaker after bullion fell 1.5 percent on
Wednesday, its biggest one-day drop in 1-1/2 months, hit by
signs that the U.S. Federal Reserve is inching closer to ending
its monetary stimulus program and by Cyprus's plan to sell its
gold reserves to raise cash. Heavyweight gold miners
Newcrest Mining Ltd lost 1.1 percent while Regis
Resources Ltd plumbed 3.1 percent.
New Zealand's benchmark NZX 50 index was trading
flat, or 0.3 points higher to 4,420.4.
STOCKS ON THE MOVE
* Woolworths Ltd rose 0.9 percent after the
supermarket chain reported a 3.8 percent rise in third-quarter
same-store food and liquor sales on Thursday.
(Reporting by Thuy Ong; Editing by Richard Borsuk)