Australia Stocks Snap Three Days of Losses

By Robb M. Stewart Features Dow Jones Newswires

MELBOURNE, Australia--Australia's share market snapped a three-day losing streak on Thursday as banking stocks found support ahead of potential market-moving events.

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The S&P/ASX 200 finished the session up 9.4 points, or 0.2%, at 5676.6, reversing from an initial sharp fall. Still, the index remains on track for its sharpest weekly drop since late October.

The major banks notched strong gains, recovering from a steady selloff since early May on concerns over Australia's housing market, potentially stiffer capital requirements and a fresh tax on lenders' liabilities. In a research report ahead of the market's open, Deutsche Bank estimated that the major banks are currently trading at a 10% discount to their average five-year price-to-earnings valuations.

Financial shares also boosted major U.S. stock indexes overnight as they reversed from Tuesday's declines. Still, markets across the region traded cautiously Thursday as investors braced for the U.K. election and the European Central Bank's latest policy meeting.

Australia & New Zealand Banking picked up 1.1%, National Australia Bank added 1%, and Commonwealth Bank of Australia and Westpac Banking were each 0.7% higher.

Diversified miners BHP Billiton and Rio Tinto rose 0.5% and 0.7%, respectively, but Fortescue Metals Group fell 0.4% despite Chinese iron-ore futures reversing early losses.

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CSL climbed 3.1% after UBS raised its recommendation on the pharmaceuticals company to a buy.

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

(END) Dow Jones Newswires

June 08, 2017 03:27 ET (07:27 GMT)