June 6, 2016 / 3:11 AM / 3 years ago

Miners push Australia shares higher as U.S. dollar falls

MELBOURNE, June 6 (Reuters) - Australian shares rose 0.7 percent on Monday on the back of strong gains in mining stocks, after surprisingly weak U.S. jobs growth knocked the U.S. dollar and sent gold and metal prices higher.

The S&P/ASX 200 index jumped 38.2 points, or 0.7 percent, to 5,357.1 by 0224 GMT, adding to a 0.8 percent rise last Friday.

Six of the top seven gainers were gold miners, led by St Barbara Mines, up 14 percent. Its bigger rivals, including Australia’s No. 1 gold miner Newcrest Mining, rose between 11 and 13 percent after gold hit a two-week high.

“I’m quite positive on gold going forward,” said Martin Angel, a dealer at Patersons Securities in Perth.

“The U.S. dollar has the potential to weaken as their (economic) numbers aren’t coming in as expected. That’s normally good for gold,” he said.

Similarly, copper and zinc prices jumped as the U.S. dollar fell, boosting top global miners BHP Billiton and Rio Tinto around 4 percent.

Among the major banks, Australia and New Zealand Banking Group slipped 0.2 percent, while its rivals rose around 1 percent.

Australia’s big insurers came under pressure in the wake of fierce rain storms that left a trail of damage along the east coast over the weekend.

QBE Insurance Group and Insurance Australia Group both fell more than 2 percent, while Suncorp fell 1.6 percent.

Contractor UGL Ltd slumped as much as 35 percent to its lowest since February after warning it may have to book a provision for a loss of up to A$200 million on its work for the huge Ichthys liquefied natural gas project off northwestern Australia, on top of a A$175 million provision already booked.

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The New Zealand market was closed for a public holiday on Monday.

Reporting by Sonali Paul; Editing by Kim Coghill

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