(Adds analysis, quotes, stocks on the move)
SYDNEY Jan 7 Australian shares rose 0.3 percent
on Tuesday, led by bluechip stocks, although sentiment was
dampened as Wall Street dipped on a mixed bag of economic data
and investors remained cautious about China's growth.
The 'Big Four' banks lifted the market, continuing their
stellar run from 2013. Top lender the Commonwealth Bank of
Australia added 0.3 percent while National Australia
Bank rose 0.4 percent.
Consumer retail staple Wesfarmers Ltd climbed 1.1
percent and top telecommunications provider Telstra Corporation
Ltd rose 0.5 percent.
"Our sense is we see the market back at the 5,700 level by
the end of the year," said John Milroy, private client adviser
at Macquarie Private Wealth.
"We think there's a real chance of the ASX200 listed
companies having a much better revenue outcome than the market
The S&P/ASX 200 index was last at 5,700 in 2008 and
is still well below its all-time high of 6851.5, touched in
November 2007. The index was trading 14.5 points higher on
Tuesday morning at 5,339.4, after a 0.5 percent fall in the
previous session, its biggest one-day drop in three weeks.
The benchmark has recovered from a four-month low of 5,028.2
touched on Dec. 12, and is now hovering some 100 points below a
4-1/2 year high of 5,457.3 hit on Oct. 28.
U.S. stocks slipped on Monday after a mixed batch of
economic reports that showed a slowdown in growth in the U.S.
services sector and a rebound in new orders for factory goods,
dampening local sentiment.
Heavyweight miners dipped after Chinese steel futures fell
for a second straight session to hit their lowest in nearly
seven months on seasonally tepid demand.
The China HSBC/Markit services sector Purchasing Managers'
Index (PMI) dropped to 50.9 in December from 52.5 in November,
with business expansion the slowest in six months. China is
Australia's top export market.
BHP Billiton Ltd and Rio Tinto Ltd fell
0.6 percent and 1.6 percent respectively. Iluka Resources Ltd
lost 0.7 percent and OZ Minerals Ltd fell 0.8
Elsewhere, Baraka Energy slumped 40 percent after
it disputed the validity of Statoil's 2014 work programs on two
permits in the Northern Territory, which it said would need to
be resolved by arbitration.
Dairy group Murray Goulburn said it expects a regulatory
decision on its offer for Australia's Warrnambool Cheese and
Butter Factory Holdings Co by the end of February, a
shorter time-frame than initially expected. Warrnambool
was down 0.1 percent.
New Zealand's benchmark NZX 50 index rose 0.3
percent or 14.8 points to 4,780.1.
(Reporting by Thuy Ong; Editing by Richard Pullin)