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Australia shares on track to end six-day losing streak, JB slumps
August 11, 2014 / 2:40 AM / 3 years ago

Australia shares on track to end six-day losing streak, JB slumps

* Market follows Wall St up on easing Ukraine tensions

* 143 shares trading higher, 42 shares lower, 15 shares unchanged (Adds analysis, quotes, stocks on the move)

By Thuy Ong and Gyles Beckford

SYDNEY/WELLINGTON, Aug 11 (Reuters) - Australian shares, which have fallen the past six sessions, added 0.6 percent early on Monday, raising hopes the longest losing streak since December can end, thanks to a jump on Wall Street and easing tensions in Ukraine.

The S&P and Dow on Friday both posted their best day since March, with the market buoyed by news that Russia was ending military drills near the Ukrainian border, while investors overlooked U.S. air strikes in Iraq.

The top bank by market capitalisation, Commonwealth Bank of Australia, was up 0.4 percent and National Australia Bank gained 0.5 percent.

Mid-tier Bendigo and Adelaide Bank Ltd climbed 2.1 percent after reporting its fiscal year net profit after tax jumped 5.7 percent to A$372.3 million.

The S&P/ASX 200 index jumped 30.6 points to 5,465.6 by 0217 GMT, bouncing from five-week lows. The market lost 2.2 percent last week, its biggest one-week loss since mid-March.

“A lot of today’s gain is driven on the back of Wall Street but volumes are low,” said Lucinda Chan, division director at Macquarie Bank in Sydney, adding that the local market was still quite soft.

“Geopolitical issues are still an issue and there hasn’t been a fix yet in the short term.”

JB Hi-Fi Ltd plumbed 8.7 percent to 2-month lows of A$17.70 after the electronics retailer reported a rise in full-year profit but warned that first-half revenue would be impacted by poor tablet computer sales.

Gold miners lost ground as bullion dropped, pressured by a lack of physical buyers to hover above $1,300 an ounce. Alacer Gold Ltd tumbled 5.2 percent and Australia’s biggest gold miner Newcrest Mining Ltd lost 1.6 percent.

Treasury Wine Estates Ltd rallied 2.2 percent after saying it has received a new takeover proposal from another global private equity investor, rivaling the $3.15 billion bid from private equity giant Kohlberg Kravis Roberts & Co LP and Rhone Capital LLC.

BC Iron Ltd dropped 4.8 percent after launching a friendly cash and share offer of around A$256 million for smaller rival Iron Ore Holdings Ltd. IOH vaulted 42 percent to A$1.36, its highest since May 2012.

New Zealand stocks were hovering just above four month-lows after trimming early gains.

The benchmark NZX-50 index was up 1.8 points at 5,057.04, after notching an 18 point gain in early trading.

Investors are expected to remain wary as the earnings season starts. Stock exchange operator NZX Ltd was first to report, with an 8 percent rise in first half profit. It last traded up 0.8 percent to NZ$1.28.

Other companies reporting this week include gaming company Sky City Entertainment, retailer Michael Hill, and chemicals manufacturer Nuplex Industries.

Entertainment software company Vista Group was the latest debutant on the market from the flurry of share offers of the past two months. It traded at NZ$2.50, a 6 percent premium to its issue price of NZ$2.35.

Logistics software company ERoad Ltd is due to list on Friday. (Reporting by Thuy Ong; Editing by Richard Borsuk)

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