Australia Stocks Join U.S. Peers In Gains, As Banks Rise

Australia stocks rode higher on the back of Wall Street gains overnight, with the S&P/ASX 200 up 0.5% in early Friday trading. Financials helped support the market, with Westpac Banking Corp. up 0.7%, Australia & New Zealand Banking Group up 0.6%, QBE Insurance Group Ltd. adding 1.3% and AMP Ltd. ahead by 2.5% after reporting third-quarter net cash flow more than double of that a year earlier. But Commonwealth Bank of Australia lagged with a 0.2% gain, while Dow Jones Newswires reported that the lender was looking into a possible capital issue. Resource shares were mixed, with some names ignoring the commodities markets: Despite a pullback for iron ore, Atlas Iron Ltd. rose 0.6%, and Mt. Gibson Iron Ltd. added 1% (though Fortescue Metals Group Ltd. fell 1.7%), while Evolution Mining Ltd. added 0.3% even as gold prices eased (though Newcrest Mining Ltd. lost 0.6%). On the other hand, a bounce back for crude oil sent Oil Search Ltd. up 0.7% and Santos Ltd. higher by 0.9%. Among other movers, Qantas Airways Ltd. added 1.8% ahead of its general meeting later in the day, while several contruction-related shares logged solid advances, with Leighton Holdings Ltd. up 4.2% and James Hardie Industries SE up 1.5%.

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