MELBOURNE Jan 3 Australian shares rose 0.5
percent to a fresh 19-month high early on Thursday, boosted by
miners after copper, gold, oil and U.S. stocks all spiked on
relief the U.S. avoided triggering the "fiscal cliff" that could
have pushed it into recession.
Top miners hit their highest since February. BHP Billiton
added 0.4 percent to A$37.99, while Rio Tinto
rose 1.6 percent to A$68.72.
"With volumes and confidence increasing across the globe,
the momentum gained at the end of 2012 looks set to continue
over the coming days," said Evan Lucas, strategist at IG
"The U.S. budgetary deal has locked in some short-term
certainty and mining stocks, which are very closely linked to
the economy's performance, posted very sharp gains," he said.
BHP and Rio both added 2 percent after the deal was reached
The underlying S&P/ASX 200 index was up 22 points at
4,725.5 by 0014 GMT. It rose 1.2 percent on Wednesday, the
biggest one-day percentage gain in five months.
New Zealand's benchmark NZX 50 index rose 0.5
percent to 4,088.7 as trade resumed after holidays.
U.S. stocks kicked off the new year with their best day in
over a year, while copper rose to its highest in more than two
STOCKS ON THE MOVE:
* Mirabela Nickel Ltd rallied 10 percent to A$0.575
after Moody's Investors Service lifted its rating to stable from
negative, saying the change reflected Mirabela's improved
liquidity. The stock had traded below A$0.30 last year.
"While the company is still highly exposed to volatile
nickel prices, the reduction in cash costs to below A$6.00 a
pound, combined with the A$160 million of cash available on
Mirabela's balance sheet as of 30 September 2012, should provide
adequate buffer to withstand a short term downturn in prices,"
(Reporting by Miranda Maxwell; Editing by)