(Adds analysis, quotes, stocks on the move)
SYDNEY Dec 10 Australian shares stepped away
from 2-month lows on Tuesday thanks to yet another record high
for Wall Street stocks, though a slump in storage company
Brambles checked gains.
Higher metals prices supported the resources sector, while
the 'Big Four' banks underpinned the market.
Westpac Banking Corp climbed 1.6 percent, while
Australia's biggest bank by market capitalization, the
Commonwealth Bank of Australia, added 0.5 percent.
Dealers said although Australian banks have become
expensive, investors continued to pick up their shares because
of the high dividend yields. The banks currently yield between
4-6 percent, compared to an average depositor account which
yields 2-3 percent annually.
Mining stocks advanced as copper rose on the back of upbeat
Chinese trade data, while gold jumped 1 percent.
Heavyweight miner BHP Billiton Ltd added 0.5
percent. Bullion producers Medusa Mining Ltd jumped 7.9
percent and St Barbara Ltd rallied 3.9 percent.
The S&P/ASX 200 index rose 36.6 points, or 0.7
percent, to 5,181.0 by 0127 GMT, snapping three straight
sessions of losses after U.S. stocks rose on Monday, with the
S&P 500 closing at a record high.
The benchmark fell 0.8 percent on Monday and has struggled
to push forward since hitting a five-and-a-half year high of
5,457.3 on October 28, mainly due to uncertainty over the U.S.
Federal Reserve's stimulus-tapering timeline.
"The fact that the ASX is behaving independently of the
U.S., Japan and China is a great concern as it suggests
international and local investors are questioning company and
country fundamentals rather than following global trends," said
Evan Lucas, IG's market strategist in a note to clients.
A handful of underwhelming domestic factors, including
profit warnings, have also hobbled the benchmark.
On Tuesday, Brambles Ltd slumped 5.6 percent to
three-month lows of A$8.74. The selloff came as its demerged A$1
billion storage division Recall Holdings Ltd made its
debut on the stock exchange at A$4.35.
"The recall spinout would take a bit of market share," Lucas
"Brambles has been waiting to get rid of Recall for ages, it
hasn't been a fantastic thing."
QBE Insurance Group Ltd tumbled 6.3 percent to
11-month lows of A$11.23, extending its losses from the previous
session after the insurance company announced a shock profit
Elsewhere, Woodside Petroleum Ltd rose 1 percent
after the company cut its total estimated investment expenditure
to $1.1 billion for 2013 from a previous guidance of $2.3
New Zealand's benchmark NZX 50 index rose 0.1
percent to 4,723.0.
(Reporting by Thuy Ong; Editing by Shri Navaratnam)