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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