LOS ANGELES – Australian stocks forged toward yet another six-year high in early Wednesday trading, with miners again leading the advance. The S&P/ASX 200 rose 0.6% to 5,577.90 after hitting its highest post-financial-crisis close the previous day, though the index still had some way to go to the 6,700 region where it had traded in the fall of 2007. Shares of BHP Billiton Ltd. celebrated an outlook-beating production report for the fiscal year that ended last month, with its shares rising 1.5%. Likewise, rival Rio Tinto Ltd. added 0.8%, Fortescue Metals Group Ltd. rose 1.5%, Oz Minerals Ltd. improved by 1.3%, and Alumina Ltd. jumped 4.4% after aluminum traded at its highest price in 16 months. Elsewhere on the market, building-materials company James Hardie Industries SE added 1.8% after upbeat housing data from the U.S., and among the smaller names, Computershare Ltd. added 1.6% after news it plans to acquire British mortgage servicer Homeloan Management Ltd. Meanwhile, investors in Sydney awaited second-quarter consumer inflation data, due out later in the day, for clues as to the central bank's next move.
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