Australia Stocks Run Uphill As Iron-ore, Oil Prices Improve

MarketWatch Pulse

Resource shares led the Australian stock market higher, with Sydney's benchmark S&P/ASX 200 up 0.7% about an hour into Monday trade, tracking strength in some of the commodities markets. The iron-ore shares showed the most dramatic gains, with Fortescue Metals Group Ltd. up 6.3%, Mt. Gibson Iron Ltd. up 4.8%, and BC Iron Ltd. up 8.3% as the spot iron-ore price rebounded to $57 a metric ton after having languished below the $50 mark earlier this month. Likewise, BHP Billiton Ltd. was up 1.4%, and Rio Tinto Ltd. was higher by 2.2%. Further improvement for Brent crude-oil futures lifted the energy names, as Woodside Petroleum Ltd. rose 1%, Oil Search Ltd. added 2%, and WorleyParsons Ltd. climbed 3.1%. Caltex Australia Ltd. lagged its peers, however, after issuing its latest update on refining margins. Elsewhere, stock in AMP Ltd. rose 1% after Macquarie lifted both its price target and rating on the shares (to neutral from underperform). Shares of Ten Network sported a 2.4% advance as Foxtel (owned by Telstra Corp. and MarketWatch parent News Corp. ) discussed a possible investment in the media company. News Corp. stock was down 0.3%, while that of Telstra rose 0.7%. And stock in Internet companies M2 Group Ltd. and iiNet Ltd. were halted from trade as M2 launched a takeover bid for its rival.

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