Australia Stocks Continue to Push Higher

MELBOURNE, Australia--Australian shares rose for a fifth session in a row Thursday as banks continued to march higher ahead of earnings reports from the major lenders from next week.

The local marked shrugged off early weakness, tracking overnight declines on Wall Street, as well as some poorly received trading updates. Natural-gas producers also pulled back sharply after the federal government said it would introduce measures to restrict exports for companies not producing enough gas for the east-coast market and when there was a risk of a domestic shortage.

The S&P/ASX 200 rose 9.5 points, or 0.2%, to finish at 5921.5--a fresh two-week high.

Westpac Banking led the major banks higher, rising for a fifth session running, climbing 1%. Australia & New Zealand Banking and National Australia Bank each added 0.8%, and Commonwealth Bank of Australia picked up 0.6%.

Santos and Origin Energy, investors in big liquefied natural gas plants on the east coast, dropped 5.5% and 3.6% respectively.

Wesfarmers was 1.5% weaker for the day following the release of third-quarter retail sales and coal production figures, and Ten Network slumped 19% after it said it swung to a first-half loss.

South32 gained 1.1% after reporting a growing cash pile but a mixed production performance in the three months through March.

Write to Robb M. Stewart at

(END) Dow Jones Newswires

April 27, 2017 03:32 ET (07:32 GMT)