Australian stocks bopped higher Monday morning as investors returned from a four-day holiday to bid up miners and, to a lesser extent, financials. About half an hour into trading, the S&P/ASX 200 was up 0.4%, with Friday's almost-2% rebound for Comex gold futures sending Evolution Mining Ltd. up 7.4%, Kingsgate Consolidated Ltd. up 3.9%, and Sydney-listed shares of Alacer Gold Corp. up 8.6%. Among the senior miners, BHP Billiton Ltd. added 1.4%, and Rio Tinto Ltd. was higher by 1.7%, while Fortescue Metals Group Ltd. gained 2.8%, gold-and-nickel extractor Independence Group NL advanced 3.1%, and Alumina Ltd. improved by 1.4%. Meanwhile, financial shares saw more modest gains, with Australia & New Zealand Banking Group up 0.5%, Westpac Banking Corp. up 0.8%, and QBE Insurance Group Ltd. up 1%, following record-high finishes Friday by some of the major U.S. indexes. Shares of retailer Myer Holdings Ltd. also outperformed with a 4% rise, likely helped by reports of strong demand for its annual Boxing Day stocktake sale.
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