Australia Stocks Rebound As Miners Strengthen

Australian stocks rebounded in early Friday trading, with the a 0.4% advance for the S&P/ASX 200 more than erasing the benchmark's 0.2% loss the previous day. Strength in industrial metals, which Dow Jones Newswires attributed to the European Central Bank again committing itself to stimulating the eurozone economy, helped fuel an advance for the miners. BHP Billiton Ltd. rose 1%, Fortescue Metals Group Ltd. added 2.3%, Oz Minerals Ltd. gained 1.4%, and despite losses for Comex gold, Newcrest Mining Ltd. improved by 2%, and Kingsgate Consolidated Ltd. climbed 3.2%. Likely helping the resource sectors was a further decline for the Australian dollar, with the currency now down about 10% from mid-year. Amid the softer Aussie dollar, oil stocks rose despite flatness for Brent crude and a 1% pullback for Nymex crude: WorleyParsons Ltd. advanced 1.1%, Santos Ltd. gained 1.2%, and Woodside Petroleum Ltd. and Oil Search Ltd. each added 0.8%. But helping limit the gains for the broader market were a 2.8% drop for Australia & New Zealand Banking Group and a 3% fall for National Australia Bank Ltd. , as both of the heavily weighted bank stocks traded without rights to the latest dividends. Shares of Scentre Group , meanwhile, rose 0.6% after the mall operator announced the sale of a stake in five New Zealand shopping malls, with Macquarie predicting more asset sales ahead. And on the downside, News Corp. -- the corporate parent of MarketWatch, publisher of this report -- traded 2.5% weaker after solid gains in the Thursday session.

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