(Adds analysts comments, stocks on the move)
SYDNEY Oct 17 Banking stocks led a modest rise
in Australian shares on Thursday morning, as global markets
breathed a sigh of relief after the U.S. Senate approved a deal
to break a fiscal impasse that brought the world's biggest
economy to the brink of a debt default.
Speaking after the Senate voted to end the fiscal logjam,
but before the House of Representatives took a vote, President
Barack Obama said the government will reopen immediately after
he signs the bill, ending a 16-day shutdown.
The deal will reopen the government through Jan. 15 and
raise the debt ceiling until Feb. 7.
"A decision's gone down to the wire, and very much confirmed
traders' expectations that there was going to be resolution to
this deadline," said City Index market maker and trader Kara
Ordway in Sydney.
The S&P/ASX 200 index added 23.2 points to 5,286.1
by 0033 GMT. The benchmark tacked on a modest 0.1 percent on
The positive mood reflected relief in global markets, with
Wall Street rallying more than 1 percent on Wednesday.
Still, there was some caution ahead of the House vote on the
"In terms of the vote, it will be harder to push through the
House of Representatives and that might be slightly more rocky
in terms of sentiment this afternoon," Ordway said.
Australia's Boral stole the limelight in the
The building materials maker's stock jumped 5.3 percent, the
biggest one-day surge in nine months, after it announced a $1.6
billion plasterboard joint venture with its U.S. peer USG Corp
Top lender the Commonwealth Bank of Australia rose
0.6 percent, and National Australia Bank climbed 1.1
A handful of underwhelming earnings reports capped the
broader market's gains.
Woodside Petroleum Ltd slid 1.3 percent after it
reported a 17 percent on-year fall in third quarter production
due to maintenance work and unplanned outages.
Newcrest Mining, the biggest gold miner on the
ASX, lost 0.7 percent after it warned that it faced a tax hit as
it had to trim deductions taken in previous years.
Ten Network Holdings Ltd fell 1.7 percent after it
reported a worse net loss for the 2013 fiscal year and proposed
a new financing plan.
Fortescue Metals Group Ltd, which is expected to
report its September-quarter production figures later on the
day, reversed earlier gains and fell 1.1 percent.
New Zealand's benchmark NZX 50 index gained 0.4
percent to 4,777.9.
(Reporting By Maggie Lu Yueyang and Thuy Ong; Editing by Shri