Australia stocks shimmied higher in early Friday trading, with a sharply weaker Aussie dollar helping lift many of the resource names, except for the gold miners. The S&P/ASX 200 had risen 0.5% about half an hour into the session, building on the previous day's 0.3% improvement, as the Australian currency bought 77.87 U.S. cents, more than a full cent lower than Thursday's level for a 1.4% drop on the day, according to FactSet. Among the miners, BHP Billiton Ltd. gained 0.8%, Rio Tinto Ltd. rose 0.9%, Oz Minerals Ltd. added a milder 0.3%, and Fortescue Metals Group Ltd. jumped 4.9% as both Macquarie and RBC Capital Markets issued upbeat notes about the iron-ore extractor. But the gold names fell as Comex gold futures saw their biggest percentage drop in more than a year, with Evolution Mining Ltd. down 5.6%, St. Barbara Ltd. tumbling more than 12% and Newcrest Mining Ltd. off a less severe 1.6% after hiking its full-year production forecast. Financials also improved for the most part, with Commonwealth Bank of Australia up 0.8% and Macquarie Group Ltd. up 0.9% after overnight gains on the U.S. markets.
Copyright © 2015 MarketWatch, Inc.