LOS ANGELES – Australian stocks pulled higher in early Wednesday trading, with miners and banks well bid following some upbeat earnings and strong overnight gains on Wall Street. The S&P/ASX 200 advanced 0.4% to 5,275.80, with Commonwealth Bank of Australia rising 0.8% following forecast-beating first-half results and a dividend hike, while Australia & New Zealand Banking Group -- which posted earnings earlier in the week -- added 1.3% as UBS upgraded the stock to buy. Oz Minerals Ltd. dominated gains across the market, shooting almost 11% higher as its 2013 net loss was below what analysts had feared. Among other miners, BHP Billiton Ltd. and Rio Tinto Ltd. rose 1.3% and 1.4%, respectively, after sharp gains in their U.S. listed shares, while a three-month high for gold added to gold miners' recent rally, with Evolution Mining Ltd. up 3.1% and Kingsgate Consolidated Ltd. rising 5.4%. Among other earnings-related moves, real-estate major Stockland climbed 3% after posting a 5% gain in fiscal-first-half net profit, but blood-product firm CSL Ltd. dropped 3.9% as its rise in profit missed expectations. Boral Ltd. improved by 5.2% after it several ratings upgrades. The construction-materials producer recorded a first-half loss but forecast a return to profit in the second half.
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