March 18, 2014 / 1:40 AM / 4 years ago

Australia shares rebound from 1-month lows, up 0.6 pct as miners support

(Adds analysis, quotes, stocks on the move)

SYDNEY, March 18 (Reuters) - Australian shares rebounded from one-month lows to add 0.6 percent on Tuesday after Wall St climbed overnight and major miners found support as copper steadied.

The ‘Big Four’ banks all rose, with Australia and New Zealand Banking Group added 0.8 percent and National Australia Bank climbed 0.9 percent. Second-tier Bank of Queensland Ltd was up 1.9 percent at A$12.70 after it touched a 4-1/2 year high of A$12.80 earlier in the session.

“We think the market is going to go higher, probably led by the banks over the next four to six weeks,” said Shawn Hickman, managing director at Market Matters in Sydney.

“The banks historically put on five and six percent in March and April going into the May dividends so we’re bullish around the banks.”

The S&P/ASX 200 index climbed 35 points to 5,352.6 by 0114 GMT. The benchmark fell 0.2 percent on Monday to one-month lows.

The Australian market touched a 5-1/2 year peak of 5,462.3 on March 7 but has since drifted lower as tensions in Ukraine and weak economic data from China have weighed on sentiment.

A rise in copper prices underpinned miners. Buyers had been initially attracted by low copper prices after a sharp drop last week. BHP Billiton Ltd jumped 1.9 percent and Rio Tinto Ltd gained 1.2 percent.

A handful of defensives also posted gains, Australia’s largest telecommunications provider Telstra Corporation Ltd added 0.4 percent while consumer staple retailer Wesfarmers Ltd rose 0.3 percent.

Elsewhere, stocks in the gold sector were on the back foot as bullion posted a loss of 1.2 percent overnight; Newcrest Mining Ltd fell 5.1 percent and Beadell Resources Ltd dropped 5.8 percent

Australia’s central bank said on Tuesday recent economic developments had strengthened its view that interest rates can remain low for some time to come, citing a pick-up in consumption and housing that was offset by a still subdued labour market and slow wage growth.

Department store operator David Jones Ltd added 0.9 percent after saying it has re-appointed management consulting firm port Jackson Partners Ltd as its strategic adviser to assess a merger proposal with Myer Holdings Ltd .

Macquarie Group Ltd rose 0.8 percent as Australia’s top investment bank has agreed to sell its private equity funds management division to the unit’s three managers.

Helping to buoy the local market, U.S. stocks climbed on Monday with the S&P 500 bouncing from its worst weekly drop in the past seven as investor concerns eased over the situation in Crimea, while economic data indicated the economy was improving after a winter slowdown.

New Zealand’s benchmark NZX 50 index added 0.7 percent to 5,122.6. (Reporting by Thuy Ong; Editing by Eric Meijer)

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