(Adds analysis, quotes, stocks on the move)
SYDNEY Jan 15 Australian shares rose 0.7
percent on Wednesday, recovering from the previous session's
rout as investor sentiment took heart from gains on Wall Street
overnight, which rose on better-than-expected retail figures.
The gain in U.S. stocks erased much of the previous
session's steep drop, after an unexpectedly strong December
retail sales reading eased concerns about an economic slowdown.
The financial sector underpinned the market with the Big
Four banks among the sector's biggest gainers. Top lender
Commonwealth Bank of Australia rose 0.8 percent while
Australia and New Zealand Banking Group added 0.9
percent. Mid-tier Bendigo Bank and Adelaide Bank rose
The S&P/ASX 200 index rose 33.1 points to 5,245.1 by
0020 GMT, its biggest one-day rise in three weeks. The benchmark
fell 1.5 percent on Tuesday, its biggest single day decline in
"The Australian market has been in decline for the past two
weeks as liquidity returns to the market," said Chay Flack, an
equities dealer at CMC Markets Stockbroking in a note.
"Christmas generally sees low trade volumes through the
market, which can exaggerate price movement in stock."
Heavyweight miners reversed the previous session's decline,
but gains were capped as metals prices slipped overnight.
Top-tier miners BHP Billiton Ltd and Rio Tinto Ltd
rose 0.2 percent and 1.4 percent each.
The gold sector declined, with Newcrest Mining Ltd
and Regis Resources Ltd losing 4.4 percent and 6.9
OZ Minerals Ltd, Australia's third-biggest copper
producer, soared 16 percent to A$3.56, a nine-week high after
saying it will increase copper and gold production this calendar
year after 2013 production came in at the top end of guidance.
"Their quarterly numbers were strong even though the
full-year was down," said Juliana Roadley, market analyst at
"I think what you've seen with them over the last year they
have been really turning around their business, they're not
lagging on change."
Meanwhile, Fortescue Metals Group will pay off
$1.64 billion on its bonds in March, up to two years ahead of
maturity, cutting debt as fast as possible while iron ore prices
remain strong. Shares in Fortescue jumped 4.7
Elsewhere, defensives rose with consumer staples retailer
Wesfarmers Ltd climbing 0.9 percent while Australia's
top communications provider Telstra Corporation Ltd
added 0.2 percent.
Coalspur Mines Ltd surged 19.4 percent to
seven-month highs of 0.37, continuing its climb after the
company said a regulator had closed its hearing relating to its
application for approval of its Vista project earlier this week.
New Zealand's benchmark NZX 50 index rose 0.4
percent to 4,883.1.
(Reporting by Thuy Ong; Editing by Eric Meijer)