Australia Stocks Rise, With Banks Up Ahead Of RBA Decision

MarketWatch Pulse

Australian stocks rolled higher in early Tuesday trading, as the S&P/ASX 200 added 0.5% ahead of a closely watched policy decision from the central bank due later in the day. Despite uncertainty over the outcome of the Reserve Bank of Australia meet -- IG said the markets had priced in a 56% chance that the RBA would trim rates for the second time in a row, cutting a quarter point to a record-low 2%, according to Dow Jones Newswires -- banking shares were doing fine: Australia & New Zealand Banking Group and Commonwealth Bank of Australia rose 1% apiece, while Westpac Banking Corp. gained 1.8%, and among the regional names, Bendigo & Adelaide Bank Ltd. improved by 0.8% and Bank of Queensland Ltd. added 1%. On the downside, gold miners traded significantly softer after losses for the yellow metal, with Evolution Mining Ltd. down 2.9%, St. Barbara Ltd. down 3.6%, and Kingsgate Consolidated Ltd. plunging 11.5% after Macquarie cut its target price on the shares by 10%. But stock in Oz Minerals Ltd. moved the other way, as the company enjoyed a 10% hike to its target price by Goldman Sachs. Meanwhile, shopping-mall developer Scentre Group climbed 2.4% as Deutsche Bank included the name among its top picks, with a buy rating.

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