Australian stocks rocked higher in early Monday trade as solid gains for U.S. shares last Friday and a halt to losses for key commodities helped to send the S&P/ASX 200 rising 1.2% in initial trades, stalking what would be the benchmark's fifth straight session of gains. Among some of the best performing miners, diversified BHP Billiton Ltd. added 1.3% and Oz Minerals Ltd. improved by 1.5%, while iron-ore extractors Fortescue Metals Group Ltd. and Atlas Iron Ltd. rallied 2.3% and 3.2%, respectively, uranium miner Paladin Energy Ltd. climbed 3.1%, and bauxite/aluminum company Alumina Ltd. traded 2.3% higher. Financials trended upward (Westpac Banking Corp. up 1.5%, Australia & New Zealand Banking Group up 1.6%), while among other outperformers, Fairfax Media Ltd. added 2.6%, NIB Holdings Ltd. gained 2.8%, and BlueScope Steel Ltd. added 2%. Shares of contruction contractor Downer EDI Ltd. traded 4% higher after the company announced it would buy privately held Tenix Holdings Australia for 300 million Australian dollars ($260 million) on a cash and debt-free basis. And stock in Transfield Services Ltd. remained untraded after the company said its had rejected a takeover offer from Spain's Ferrovial Servicios SA, though it offered to allow Ferrovial access to its books to conduct due dilligence. Meanwhile, Santos Ltd. rose 1.7%, even as both J.P. Morgan and RBC Capital Markets cut their price targets on the shares after the energy company's quarterly output and revenue results.
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