(Adds analysis, quotes, stocks on the move)
SYDNEY Feb 10 Australian shares added 0.7
percent on Monday, led by the banks and following a jump on Wall
Street, though volumes were low with investors cautious before a
batch of corporate earnings reports due later in the week.
Among financials, bluechips Commonwealth Bank of Australia
gained 1.1 percent and Westpac Banking Corp
added 1 percent. Westpac's deputy chairman John Curtis said he
will retire from the board on April 25.
Mid-tier Bank of Queensland Ltd rose 0.1 percent.
The S&P/ASX 200 index added 37.8 points to 5,204.3
by 0041 GMT. The benchmark rose 0.7 percent on Friday. Trading
was light with 141.2 million shares traded by 0042, compared to
a moving daily average of 514.9 million shares in January.
Companies due to report later in the week include Telstra
Corporation Ltd, Commonwealth Bank of Australia
, CSL, and Boral Ltd.
"I don't think there will be any great surprises in earnings
this week," said Shawn Hickman, managing director at Market
Matters in Sydney.
"CBA and Telstra will probably come out, make money and pay
good dividends. CBA will be the key to this week because their
margins are looking very healthy and their bad debts are looking
Resource stocks also helped underpin the local market as
copper rose to post its largest weekly rise for the year,
boosted by hopes of a pick-up in demand after the Chinese New
Year. Among miners, BHP Billiton Ltd climbed 1 percent
and Rio Tinto Ltd added 1.3 percent.
Gold miner Newcrest Mining Ltd jumped 5.1 percent.
A handful of defensives also underpinned the market with
telecommunications giant Telstra Corporation Ltd and
biotechnology firm CSL Ltd both up 1 percent.
Western Areas jumped 5.3 percent to 3-1/2 month
highs of A$2.90 after the company says it expects metrics from
earnings including EBITDA margins, EBITDA and net profit after
tax to be improved from the prior six months.
G8 Education soared 7 percent to all-time highs of
A$3.52 after the company said it has acquired 63 premium
childcare and education centres for A$104.7 million.
The benchmark has recovered from 7-week lows hit last week
as investors struggled to come to terms with the Reserve Bank of
Australia's decision to drop its easing bias.
"Backing up the strong end to last week with this positive
early performance, bullish overtones from international markets
have helped kickstart the benchmark index," said Niall King, a
sales trader at CMC markets in a note.
U.S. stocks jumped on Friday, giving the S&P 500 its first
weekly gain in four as the impact of a weak reading on the
labour market was dulled by harsh weather conditions and traders
focused on expectations of further economic strength.
New Zealand's benchmark NZX 50 index slipped 0.3
percent to 4,828.2.
(Reporting by Thuy Ong; Editing by Eric Meijer)