Australia Stocks Rise; News Corp., Ten Network Rally

MarketWatch Pulse

Australian stocks jogged uphill Thursday morning, as strength in media and energy stocks helped carry the S&P/ASX 200 to a 0.4% gain in early trading. Shares of News Corp. -- the corporate parent of MarketWatch, the publisher of this report -- gained 4.9% as its book publishing segment helped more than double its quarterly earnings. Smaller media peer Ten Network jumped 10.2% after hiring Citigroup as an adviser, as the Australian Financial Review said the company may soon receive a takeover offer from Discovery Communications Inc. and Foxtel -- a company jointly owned by News Corp. and Telstra Corp. . Telstra stock traded 0.4% higher. Over among the resource stocks, energy shares advanced after crude-oil futures rebounded overnight and as the Australian dollar lost ground, with Woodside Petroleum Ltd. up 1%, and Oil Search Ltd. adding 1.4%. But the oil firms' meat was the airlines' poison, with Qantas Airways Ltd. down 2%, though rival Virgin Australia Holdings Ltd. managed to crawl back to the flat line in early trades. Also on the downside, further punishment for iron-ore hit Fortescue Metals Group Ltd. (down 2.9%), Arrium Ltd. (down 2.5%), Atlas Iron Ltd. (down 5.6%) and others, while a sharp pullback for gold took a toll on Newcrest Mining Ltd. (down 2.1%), Evolution Mining Ltd. (down 4.4%), Perseus Mining Ltd. (down 9%) and other gold extractors. Australian employment data was due out later in the morning, with the data holding the possibility of moving the market.

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