(Adds details, comments, stocks on the move)
SYDNEY, Jan 8 Australian shares rose 0.2 percent
in late morning trade on Tuesday, with gains limited as miners
and banks backed off amid investor concerns about U.S. corporate
earnings and debt ceiling talks.
BHP Billiton Ltd was up 0.1 percent, paring early
gains, while Rio Tinto Ltd fell 1.3 percent.
"There is not a huge conviction in the market at the
moment," said Martin Lakos, a division director at Macquarie
Private Wealth, pointing to looming U.S. talks to raise the
country's politically sensitive debt ceiling.
"Investors are going to be still cautious leading up to the
28th of February deadline for the debt ceiling negotiations," he
The S&P/ASX 200 index was 7.8 points higher at
4,725.1 by 0044 GMT. It slipped 0.1 percent to 4,717.3 on
Major banks pulled back from gains on new Basel liquidity
rules, with the biggest lender Commonwealth Bank of Australia
down 1.1 percent. Westpac Banking Corp bucked
the trend to add 0.7 percent.
Energy stocks gained on higher oil prices, with the
country's biggest oil producer Woodside petroleum Ltd
rising 1.1 percent.
Defensive stocks were generally higher. Flagship
telecommunications provider Telstra climbed 1.0
percent, and blood products producer CSL Ltd was up 0.3
New Zealand's benchmark NZX 50 index was up 1.1
points to 4,085.7.
STOCKS ON THE MOVE
* Oil and gas producer Linc Energy Ltd soared 7.4
percent after it said it broke an oil production milestone of
6,000 barrels per day.
* Coal seam gas producer Westside Corp Ltd added
1.2 percent after it said it was continuing discussions with a
party which submitted a conditional and confidential takeover
proposal last November.
(Reporting By Maggie Lu Yueyang; Editing by Richard Pullin)