Australian stocks headed higher in early Monday action, helped by a positive lead from the U.S. markets and even more so by firmer prices for some key commodities. The S&P/ASX 200 was quoted 0.5% higher after about an hour of trade, as favorable resource prices juiced the shares of iron-ore miners (Fortescue Metals Group Ltd. up 4.2%, Arrium Ltd. up 8.3%), gold miners (Kingsgate Consolidated Ltd. up 2.7%, Newcrest Mining Ltd. up 1.2%), and energy companies (Oil Search Ltd. up 3.2%, Woodside Petroleum Ltd. up 2.2%). Among the senior miners, BHP Billiton Ltd. was up 2%. while Rio Tinto Ltd. saw a more modest 0.8% advance. Power company Origin Energy Ltd. added 2.9%, helped by an overweight rating from J.P. Morgan, according to Dow Jones Newswires. Investment bank Macquarie Group Ltd. added 0.9% after Wall Street's winning session Friday. On the downside, fertilizer and explosives maker Incitec Pivot Ltd. fell 5.1% as its 27% gain in first-half profit failed to stoke strong buying interest in the face of a cautious outlook.
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