Australia Stocks Rise for a Third Day Running

By Robb M. Stewart Features Dow Jones Newswires

MELBOURNE, Australia--Australian shares rose modestly for a third straight day Thursday despite being held back by banks and resources companies.

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Ending near the session high, the S&P/ASX 200 gained 13.5 points, or 0.2%, to 5738.1 thanks to strength in utilities, property trusts, industrials and health care stocks.

Yet after recovering the previous two days, the major banks again weakened to build on May's sharp losses as uncertainty has grown over a new tax on the liabilities of the biggest lenders and regulatory capital requirements.

Big mining stocks retreated with a further decline in Chinese steel and coal commodities, with iron ore down sharply after slumping 15% over the last five sessions.

A 3.1% fall by conglomerate Wesfarmers also weighed on the wider market, after Morgan Stanley lowered its stance on the stock and warned investors were underestimating the hit Wesfarmers' retail operations could take with Amazon's coming arrival in the country.

Westpac Banking and National Australia Bank each lost 0.7%, Australia & New Zealand Banking fell 0.2% and Commonwealth Bank of Australia slipped into the red.

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Among mining stocks, BHP Billiton and Rio Tinto were 0.7% and 1.7% lower, respectively, and Fortescue Metals Group was 3.7% weaker.

Write to Robb M. Stewart at robb.stewart@wsj.com

(END) Dow Jones Newswires

June 01, 2017 03:04 ET (07:04 GMT)