Australian stocks nudged higher in cautious Tuesday morning trade ahead of a slate of Chinese economic data due out later in the day. The S&P/ASX 200 advanced 0.3%, helped by solid gains for 2 of the 3 main U.S. indexes overnight. Of the top-weighted sectors, miners were mixed (BHP Billiton Ltd. down 0.1%, Rio Tinto Ltd. up 0.6%, Fortescue Metals Group Ltd. up 1.7%, Alumina Ltd. down 0.3% and BC Iron Ltd. up 3.9% after Macquarie upgraded the stock to outperform), while financials were modestly higher (Australia & New Zealand Banking Group up 0.1%, National Australia Bank Ltd. up 0.3%, and Macquarie Group Ltd. up 0.4%). Shares of WorleyParsons Ltd. fell 1.8% after UBS cut its rating on the shares to sell and slashed its price target by almost 25%. China -- Australia's top trading partner -- was due to release its September numbers for retail sales and industrial output, along with quarterly gross domestic product, at 1 p.m. Sydney time (10 p.m. U.S. Eastern time).
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