Australian stocks rose in early Friday trading, with strength in industrials and airlines, along with U.S. gains overnight, helping to send the S&P/ASX 200 up 0.5%. Shares of Macquarie Group Ltd. rose 2.1% after the investment bank posted a 35% improvement in profit for the fiscal first half, though Australia & New Zealand Banking Group underperformed the index with a 0.2% advance after its full-year cash profit increased by 10%. Some industrial blue chips advanced, with Brambles Ltd. up 1.3% and BlueScope Steel Ltd. ahead by 1.4%, while among the airlines, Qantas Airways Ltd. added 1.8%, and Virgin Australia Holdings Ltd. gained 1.3%, amid a drop in crude-oil prices. Iron-ore miners were mostly higher, with Fortescue Metals Group Ltd. up 1.3%, BC Iron Ltd. adding 3.4%, and Mt. Gibson Iron Ltd. ahead by 1.5%, while gold miners sold off after Comex gold futures fell below the $1,200 mark, with Newcrest Mining Ltd. down 4.1% and Evolution Mining Ltd. down 3%.
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