Australian stocks zigged and zagged between gains and losses in early Friday trade, with the S&P/ASX 200 down 0.1% about 40 minutes into the session. The benchmark has closed lower every day so far this week. Support came from the gold and energy stocks, which tracked gains for the relevent futures overnight, as Oil Search Ltd. jumped 3.7%, Santos Ltd. gained 2%, Karoon Gas Australia Ltd. rose 3.2%, Perseus Mining Ltd. surged 5%, Kingsgate Consolidated Ltd. rose 2.1%, and Sydney-listed shares of Alacer Gold Corp. were 2.7% higher. The big two miners -- BHP Billiton Ltd. and Rio Tinto Ltd. -- added 0.6% and 1.1%, respectively. On the downside for the miners, Sandfire Resources droped 4.8% amid problems at its DeGrussa copper and gold mine due to water flowing into drill holes, even as J.P. Morgan said it didn't see the disruptions as a problem just yet, Dow Jones Newswires reported. Elsewhere on the market, Myer Holdings Ltd. rose 0.9% as the retailer held its annual shareholder meeting, while financials were mostly weaker, with Australia & New Zealand Banking Group down 0.4%, Westpac Banking Corp. off 0.5%, but National Australia Bank Ltd. up 0.5% after announcing results for its listed U.S. unit Great Western Bancorp Inc.
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