Australian Stocks Rise Despite Drag From Miners

By Michael KitchenMarketWatch Pulse

Australian stocks scrambled higher in early Thursday action, with broad gains for the market overcoming weakness in some of the major miners to send the S&P/ASX up 0.6%. While Greece still likely weighed on the market's collective mind, a positive stock session for Wall Street seemed to help lift spirits, along with a six-month high for the ADP employment survey ahead of the definitive June U.S. jobs report due later in the day. Among gainers, Australia & New Zealand Banking Group and Macquarie Group Ltd. rose 1% each, Myer Holdings Ltd. climbed 2%, James Hardie Industries SE added 1.6%, and Brambles Ltd. improved by 1.3%. On the other hand, a lower iron-ore price helped sink BHP Billiton Ltd. , Rio Tinto Ltd. and Arrium Ltd. by 0.1%, 0.2% and 1.9%, respectively, though Fortescue Metals Group Ltd. rose 1.1%. BlueScope Steel Ltd. rallied 8.5% amid the prospect of cheaper ore and as Ausbil Investment Management raised its stake in the company. A sharp overnight drop for crude-oil futures saw Oil Search Ltd. fall 0.7% and Woodside Petroleum Ltd. lose 0.3%, but Qantas Airways Ltd. and rival Virgin Australia Holdings Ltd. rose 1.5% and 1.2%, respectively. Meanwhile, Pacific Brands Ltd. surged almost 30% after raising its profit outlook for the financial year that ended Tuesday, and fellow apparel name Billabong International Ltd. added a more modest 1.3%.

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