Australia Stocks End Higher as Banks Drive Broad Gains After Long Weekend

By Robb M. Stewart Features Dow Jones Newswires

MELBOURNE, Australia--Australian shares Tuesday closed higher after a long holiday weekend, paring most of last week's declines as a rally in banks led broad gains.

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The major banks rallied, rebounding from heavy selling over the past month on concerns over lackluster earnings, the possibility the industry regulator will demand increased capital buffers and the introduction of a new federal tax on liabilities.

Energy shares also jumped, as oil prices added to gains at the start of the week.

In the sharpest advance since the U.S. election in November, the S&P/ASX 200 index jumped 95 points, or 1.7%, to settle at 5772.8. Last week, it touched a four-month low.

The market was closed Monday for the Queen's Birthday holiday.

The local gains came despite a weak lead from Wall Street, as U.S. stocks were pulled down by a second straight session of losses in technology shares.

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"The ASX 200 index is benefiting from its low weighting in the tech sector, with some of the beaten up 'old' sectors like banks and energy stocks leading it higher," said Ric Spooner, chief market analyst at CMC Markets in Sydney.

Westpac Banking led the Big Four banks with a gain of 2.8%. Commonwealth Bank of Australia, Australia & New Zealand Banking and National Australia Bank each gained 2.5%.

Investment bank and asset manager Macquarie climbed 2.8%, while regional lenders Bendigo & Adelaide Bank and Bank of Queensland rose 3.4% and 2.7%, respectively.

Among energy stocks, Woodside Petroleum picked up 2%, Oil Search added 1.3% and Santos rose 3.9%.

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

(END) Dow Jones Newswires

June 13, 2017 03:35 ET (07:35 GMT)