Australian stocks edged higher in early Tuesday trading, with the S&P/ASX 200 up 0.2%, resting tantalizingly just below the 6,000 milestone at 5,965. With a soft lead from the U.S. markets and caution in Sydney ahead of Chinese manufacturing data due out later in the day, many of the sectors were mixed. After oil prices moved higher overnight, Caltex Australia Ltd. rose 0.5%, Santos Ltd. added 0.6%, and WorleyParsons Ltd. rallied 2.1%, though Beach Energy Ltd. lost 1%, and Oil Search Ltd. was flat. Among the miners, Oz Minerals Ltd. gained 1.8% after further strength for copper futures, and BHP Billiton Ltd. improved by 1%, though Rio Tinto Ltd. lost 0.4%, and Fortescue Metals Group Ltd. fell 0.8% as research firm Morningstar said the iron-ore extractor's decision to ditch a refinancing plan made an equity raising or asset sale more likely. Gold shares did well, however, following movement on the commodity markets, with Evolution Mining Ltd. up 2.1%, St. Barbara Ltd. up 4.7%, and Newcrest Mining Ltd. rising 2.3% after Morgan Stanley hiked its price target on the shares by 12%, according to Dow Jones Newswires. Elsewhere, Qantas Airways Ltd. fell 2% on fears regulators could block its planned alliance with China Eastern Airlines Corp. . TPG Telecom Ltd. -- which is set to become Australia's second-biggest fixed-line telecom after recently signing a deal to buy smaller rival iiNet Ltd. -- climbed 3.4% after reporting 18% growth in its six-month profit and raising its outlook on full-year earnings. Shares of iiNet fell 1.1%, while stock in Australia's largest telecom -- Telstra Corp. -- rose 0.5%. And a disappointing fiscal-first-half loss from New Zealand adventure-clothing retailer Kathmandu Holdings Ltd. sent its stock down 7% in Sydney, while the Wellington shares lost 8.7%.
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