* ASX200 gains 0.5 percent
* Gains across the board but miners under pressure
(Adds analysis, quotes, stocks on the move)
By Swati Pandey and Naomi Tajitsu
SYDNEY/WELLINGTON, July 14 - Australian shares rose 0.5
percent on Monday, led by financial and consumer goods
companies, but analysts said valuations are getting stretched
and likely to keep further gains in check.
After a promising start to the year, the market has lost
momentum due to falling iron ore prices and a hit to consumer
confidence from an unexpectedly austere federal budget. For the
first-half, stocks rose just 1.9 percent.
"Liquidity is still not as good as it used be," said Damien
Boey, equity strategist at Credit Suisse.
"People are a little bit more positive about the growth
outlook today than they are about valuations."
The S&P/ASX 200 index rose 27.8 points to 5,514.6
points by 0203 GMT. The benchmark lost 0.7 percent last week,
snapping three weeks of gains with its biggest one-week fall
The 'Big Four' banks continued their run higher as investors
chased their high yields, with Westpac Banking Corp
adding 0.7 percent and Commonwealth Bank of Australia
climbing 0.66 percent.
Iron ore miner Fortescue Metals Group ltd dropped
for a second session after its full-year iron ore shipments came
in slightly below target despite hitting an above-capacity
output rate in June. It was down 1.5 percent.
Iron ore miners have been pressured by a 30 percent drop in
prices since January.
Aurora Minerals rose more than 10 percent after it bought a
stake in Africa's Predictive Discovery while Karoon Gas
rose 2.6 percent after it contracted a rig for a Santos basin
New Zealand's benchmark NZX-50 index edged up 14.7
points to 5115.97, pushing away from a two-week low hit late
Gains were led by accounting software developer Xero
, which gained 2.2 percent, and casino operator Sky City
, which rose 1.3 percent to rebound from a five-month
low on Friday.
Xeroalso reversed losses, and was supported by an
announcement late last week that the fast-growing tech company
had tied up with New Zealand virtual payments provide Optimiser,
which will enable Xero's small business customers access to
low-cost credit card services.
(Editing by Kim Coghill)