Australian stocks improved at the Tuesday open, rising into a closely watch central-bank decision due out later in the day as moves on the commodities markets drove gains among Sydney-listed miners. The benchmark S&P/ASX 200 was up 0.7% about 20 minutes into the trading day, with the Australian dollar hovering at the 78-U.S.-cent line. A sharp rebound in crude-oil futures overnight and continuing into the Australian day juiced the energy names (Oil Search Ltd. up 3.8%, Woodside Petroleum Ltd. up 2%, Beach Energy Ltd. up 6.9%), while iron-miners also saw an improvement in fortunes (Fortescue Metals Group Ltd. up 1.7%, Mt. Gibson Iron Ltd. up 3.3%, Arrium Ltd. up 3.6%), as did the senior miners (BHP Billiton Ltd. up 2.5%, Rio Tinto Ltd. up 1.7%). Whitehaven Coal Ltd. rallied 4.3% as Deutsche Bank said the company was set to refinance its debt, and over in the real-estate sector, shares of Federation Centres and Novion Property Group were untraded following an announcement that the former would buy the latter in an all-stock deal, which Dow Jones Newswires called "one of the biggest deals involving Australian real-estate investment trusts for years." Banks saw less of an advance, with Westpac Banking Corp. up 0.4%, Australia & New Zealand Banking Group up 0.7% and Commonwealth Bank of Australia flat ahead of the Reserve Bank of Australia's policy decision, due out at 2:30 p.m. (10:30 p.m. Monday U.S. Eastern time). Interbank futures were implying a 60% chance of the RBA cutting the policy rate by a quarter-point to 2.25%, Reuters reported, with such a move potentially reducing the value of the Aussie dollar, as the RBA has called for.
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