LOS ANGELES – Australian stocks moved higher early Wednesday, as a positive finish for Wall Street and overnight gains for oil prices helped send the S&P/ASX 200 up 0.5% to 5,341.50. Energy shares tracked the advance in crude futures, with Origin Energy Ltd. and Oil Search Ltd. adding 1.3% each, while WorleyParsons Ltd. rose 1.2%. The heavily weighted bank stocks also improved, with Commonwealth Bank of Australia up 0.7%, and Westpac Banking Corp. climbing 0.8%, though most of the blue-chip miners traded lower, with Rio Tinto Ltd. down 0.9% and Fortescue Metals Group Ltd. off 1.5%. Likewise, a drop for gold futures in New York helped shove shares of Kingsgate Consolidated Ltd. lower by 4.3%, and those of St. Barbara Ltd. down 3.8%. Food producer Goodman Fielder Ltd. traded 0.8% higher as Reuters cited the firm as saying it would sell its New Zealand meat and pizza units, with the cash raised used to pay down debt.
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