Australia Stocks Rise, Snapping Four-Session Retreat

By Robb M. StewartFeaturesDow Jones Newswires

MELBOURNE, Australia--Australian shares rebounded from four straight sessions of losses on Monday, helped by a recovery by the banks and strong gains for mining and energy companies.

Broadly as-expected first-half earnings from Westpac Banking helped firm up sentiment toward the major banks. The sector was sold down last week following a soft half-year report from Australia & New Zealand Banking and in a pull-back for the sector after a strong run higher since the U.S. presidential election.

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Signs of stability in commodity prices also shored up investor confidence and lifted resources stocks, and on a day when markets across the region were buoyed by the election Sunday of Emmanuel Macron as president of France.

With most industry sectors higher for the day, the S&P/ASX 200 finished up 34.3 points, or 0.6%, at 5870.9. The index dropped 1.5% over the course of last week.

National Australia Bank led the big banks, gaining 1.8% to take back some of last week's 4.4% drop. Westpac added 0.7% and Commonwealth Bank of Australia climbed 1.1% ahead of the release of its third-quarter trading before the market opens on Tuesday. Australia & New Zealand Banking was down a further 2.3% as it traded ex-dividend.

Woodside Petroleum picked up 1.6%, Oil Search gained 2.2% and Oil Search climbed 1.7%.

Diversified miners BHP Billiton and Rio Tinto rose 1.6% and 2.3%, respectively, while iron-ore producer Fortescue Metals Group was 1.5% higher.

Crude-oil prices began the week strongly in Asian trading, recovering from last week's steep decline, while Chinese iron-ore futures stabilized from losses last week.

Fairfax Media was 2.4% stronger after the struggling media company it said it had received a takeover offer from private-equity firm TPG Group and Ontario Teachers' Pension Plan Board.

For the day, 2.79 billion shares were traded worth 7.27 billion Australian dollars (US$5.40 billion), Commonwealth Securities said.

Write to Robb M. Stewart at

(END) Dow Jones Newswires

May 08, 2017 03:06 ET (07:06 GMT)