Australia Stocks Rise as Banks Continue to Recover

By Robb M. StewartFeaturesDow Jones Newswires

MELBOURNE, Australia--The continued recovery by the biggest banks led a day of broad gains for Australian shares.

Adding to last week's advance, the S&P/ASX 200 rose 31.2 points, or 0.5%, to end Monday at 5805.2.

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The four largest banks collectively added almost 16 points to the index, reclaiming some of the ground lost since early May over worries about the effect of a fresh tax on their liabilities and risks in the housing market.

Australia & New Zealand Banking rose 0.9%, Commonwealth Bank of Australia added 1.1%, Westpac Banking was up 1.2% and National Australia Bank was 1.5% higher.

Utility stocks were also higher, led by AGL Energy's 2% rise.

Oil-and-gas shares were held back by a decline in oil prices during Asian trading and retailers came under renewed pressure after Amazon, which is poised to launch in Australia, said it would buy Whole Foods Market for US$13.7 billion.

Among energy stocks, Woodside Petroleum fell 0.7% and Oil Search lost 0.4%, but Santos gained 0.3%.

Supermarket chain Woolworths dropped 3.5%, home-goods retailer Harvey Norman declined 3.1% and department store Myer was 2.2% lower.

Write to Robb M. Stewart at

(END) Dow Jones Newswires

June 19, 2017 03:08 ET (07:08 GMT)