SYDNEY, March 21 Australian shares rebounded on
Friday morning, adding 0.4 percent after Wall Street moved past
worries over Federal Reserve policy and on news of funds being
secured for one of Australia's largest mining projects.
After enjoying a largely solid earnings season, the Syndey
market has been knocked back in recent sessions by the Ukraine
crisis and concerns of slowing growth in China.
Comments from Fed Chair Janet Yellen on Wednesday suggesting
an earlier-than-anticipated start to the rate-tightening cycle
added to the woes although a rebound on Wall Street overnight
provided some relief for now. Upbeat U.S. data also gave a
timely boost to sentiment.
Will Cleland, associate director of institutional dealing at
PhillipCapital, said news Roy Hill had secured $7.2 billion in
debt for an iron ore mining project boosted buying interest in
the mining sector.
The 55-million-tonnes a year mine will make Roy Hill
Australia's fourth largest iron ore producer, adding to a slew
of new supply from bigger rivals Rio Tinto , BHP
Billiton and Fortescue Metals Group.
It is "certainly good for sentiment regarding the mining
sector and the Australian economy as a whole," Cleland said.
"It probably indicates people are still very comfortable with
where the iron ore price is."
BHP and Rio Tinto climbed 0.9 percent and 0.8 percent
respectively, while Fortescue jumped 1.2 percent.
The S&P/ASX 200 index added 19.9 points to 5,313.9
by 0100 GMT, but still looked set to end the week lower. The
benchmark fell 1.1 percent on Thursday.
The market has drifted lower in March after rallying 4.1
percent in February, as tensions in Ukraine and disappointing
data from China soured sentiment.
Australia's "big four" banks were mostly trading higher in
the morning session, with Commonwealth Bank of Australia
tacking on 0.3 percent and Westpac Banking Corp
adding 0.5 percent.
Tim Radford, global investment manager at Rivkin Securities,
noted that the banks had held steady amid the broader market's
"With the big four banks holding near 52 week highs, this is
evidence to me that there is still plenty of buying interest out
there," Radford said in a note.
Gold miners recovered from sharp losses a day ago, with
Newcrest Mining Ltd up 3.3 percent and Regis Resources
Ltd 1.3 percent higher.
Metcash Ltd, owner of IGA stores, plunged 10.2
percent after the company said total capex was estimated to peak
at between A$150 million and A$180 million in 2015 and decline
to A$130 million and A$150 million in 2016 and 2017.
New Zealand's benchmark NZX 50 index fell off from
an all-time high hit in the previous session and eased 0.3
percent to 5,145.8.
(Reporting by Maggie Lu Yueyang; Editing by Shri Navaratnam)