Australia Stocks Add To Gains; Airlines, Retailers Rise

MarketWatch Pulse

Australia stocks moved modestly higher in early Sydney stock action Wednesday, with the S&P/ASX 200 nosing 0.2% higher in seesaw trading, extending its 1.4% commodities-led rally in the previous session. In the resource sector, BHP Billiton Ltd. slipped 0.2%, Rio Tinto Ltd. lost 0.5%, and OZ lost 1%, while more losses for gold sent Evolution Mining Ltd. down 3.9% and Kingsgate Consolidated Ltd. down 1.5%. Iron-ore shares were mostly higher, however, with Fortescue Metals Group Ltd. up 1% and Arrium Ltd. ahead by 2.5%, shrugging off data showing a sharp drop in exports from Australia's Port Hedland due to temporary steel-making curbs in China. Uranium was also a strong spot for the miners, as Paladin Energy Ltd. rose 1.5%, and Energy Resources of Australia Ltd. improved by 3.3%. Energy shares were mixed after oil futures fell overnight but then rebounded a little on U.S. supply data. Caltex Australia Ltd. rose 1.1%, and Woodside Petroleum Ltd. rallied 2.6%, but Santos Ltd. lost 1.9%, and Karoon Gas Australia Ltd. fell 2.2%. Airlines, however, booked fresh gains on the energy-market moves, also possibly helped by UBS hiking its stock ratings for the sector. Qantas Airways Ltd. rose 6.2% in early moves, while Virgin Australia Holdings Ltd. gained a more modest 0.5%. Retailers were also broadly higher, with Myer Holdings Ltd. up 1.1% and Woolworths Ltd. rising 0.5%. And among the top decliners, Ten Network fell 4.2% despite reporting it had received several takeover and investment offers. Later in the day, the government was due to announce third-quarter gross domestic product, with the GDP tipped to rise 3.1% according to a Reuters survey of economists.

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