SYDNEY May 13 Australian shares rose to a
two-week high on Tuesday morning, spurred by broad-based gains
after Wall Street notched up another record high and base metals
Investors were also looking ahead to the first budget from
the conservative coalition government of Prime Minister Tony
Abbott later in the day, with big spending cuts forecast, along
with tax hikes and spending on
"With the amount of pre-marketing clocked up by the
Treasurer, local markets will be relieved to have access to the
facts and we might be able to respond naturally to US and
European market momentum, which began to lift this week," Scott
Schuberg, chief executive at Rivkin Securities sait in a note.
The S&P/ASX 200 index gained 0.8 percent, or 43.9
points, to 5,492.3 by 0144 GMT, after earlier touching the
highest level since April 30. The benchmark dipped 0.2 percent
to 5,448.4 on Monday.
The Australian market took its cues from Wall Street, where
the Dow and S&P 500 ended at record highs overnight and the
Nasdaq rallied on Internet and biotech shares.
Miners led the gains, with BHP Billiton Ltd and Rio
Tinto Ltd climbing 2.5 percent and 3.2 percent
Investors will likely be watching out for industrial
production, fixed asset investment and retail sales data from
China, Australia's biggest export market as Asia's economic
powerhouse experiences its slowest growth in decades.
Australia's big four banks, which fell in the past week on
profit-taking, were trading up. Commonwealth Bank of Australian
rose 0.6 percent and Westpac Banking Corp
climbed 0.7 percent.
Consumer related stocks rebounded, as supermarket chain
Woolworths Ltd up 0.6 percent and Coles-owner
Wesfarmers Ltd 0.9 percent higher.
Takeover activity also attracted interest in early trade.
Leighton Holdings Ltd rose 1.8 percent after
majority holder Hochtief raised its stake in the firm
to nearly 70 percent, tightening its grip on Australia's biggest
construction company and paving the way for its restructuring.
Australian copper miner PanAust Ltd surged 33.5
percent after it said it received an incomplete takeover offer
from China's state-owned Guangdong Rising Assets Management
On the other hand, GPT Group slipped 2.7 percent
after GIC Private, the international investment arm of the
Singapore government, put about an 8 percent stake in GPT for
Shares in Orica Ltd fell as much as 4.4 percent,
after the explosives maker reported a 9 percent drop in its
first-half net profit.
New Zealand's benchmark NZX 50 index rose 0.6
percent to 5,193.5.
(Reporting by Maggie Lu Yueyang; Editing by Shri Navaratnam)