Australia Stocks Meander In Early Trading; Gold Shares Gain

Australian stocks seesawed early Tuesday, as bank shares rose but mining and energy names offered a mixed picture. The S&P/ASX 200 moved in and out of gains in initial trading, sitting little changed about a half hour into the session. The "Big Four" banks all rose, with Australia & New Zealand Banking Group and National Australia Bank Ltd. both up 0.2%, and Commonwealth Bank of Australia and Westpac Banking Corp. up 0.4% each. Among the miners, some strength for gold futures sent Evolution Mining Ltd. up 4.2% and Kingsgate Consolidated Ltd. 3% higher, while the senior miners BHP Billiton Ltd. and Rio Tinto Ltd. advanced 0.4% each. But weakness in the iron-ore price sent Fortescue Metals Group Ltd. down 1.9%, BC Iron Ltd. down 4.8%, and Mt. Gibson Iron Ltd. down 5.6%. A tentative rebound for crude oil helped lift Oil Search Ltd. up 0.6% and WorleyParsons Ltd. up 0.7%, while in the airline sector, Virgin Australia Holdings Ltd. fell 0.8%, but Qantas Airways Ltd. added 0.8% after announcing plans to start a joint venture next year with China Eastern Airlines Corp.

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