Australia Stocks Climb Ahead Of China Data; Bank Shares Strong

By MarketWatch Pulse

Australian stocks delivered some thumping gains in the first hour of Tuesday trading, tracking gains for major bourses across the world as hopes for a Greek bailout deal rose, though the Sydney could reverse course later in the morning, when HSBC releases a preliminary version of its key China manufacturing gauge. The S&P/ASX 200 barreled 1.2% higher, with banks -- among the most heavily weighted segments of the market -- rose on the Greek optimism. Commonwealth Bank of Australia added 2.1%, while National Australia Bank Ltd. added 1.2%, and Australia & New Zealand Banking Group and Westpac Banking Corp. gained 1.8% apiece. A mixed picture for commodities translated to a similarly mixed picture for mining stocks, with BHP Billiton Ltd. and Rio Tinto Ltd. up 0.7% each, while Fortescue Metals Group Ltd. lost 1.6% and Perseus Mining Ltd. fell 1.2%. Shares of Oz Minerals Ltd. added 2.3% despite an overnight retreat for copper prices. Meanwhile, stock in Healthscope Ltd. was quoted 1.7% higher on news of its plan to sell its Australian pathology unit. Construction-materials firm James Hardie Industries SE rose 2.2% after U.S. existing-home sales beat expectations for May, while shares of CIMIC Group Ltd. added 2.1%.

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