Australia shares up on Wall St rally, Greece hopes
(Adds details, comments) Sydney, Nov 26 (Reuters) - Australian shares inched higher on Monday, led by the country's big miners and gold stocks, following Wall Street's rally on strong Black Friday sales and on expectations of an aid agreement later in the day for Greece. Bellwether miners BHP Billiton Ltd and Rio Tinto Ltd gained 0.5 percent and 0.4 percent respectively. Gold miners Newcrest Mining jumped 1.2 percent and Resolute gained 1.7 percent. Steelmakers were also strong, with Fortescue Metals Group up 2.7 percent. The Commonwealth Bank of Australia edged up 0.7 percent, but banks were mixed overall. The benchmark S&P/ASX 200 index was 6.4 points higher at 4,419.4 by 0106 GMT. The benchmark ended flat on Friday but was up 1.8 percent for the week. "We were expecting a much bigger gain than what we're seeing, so it's actually quite disappointing," said Juliette Saly, market analyst at Commonwealth Securities. "There was a lot of optimism coming through in the U.S. and Europe. We were expecting gains of three quarters or one percent when you look at what happened on Wall St overnight." Wall St rose on optimism in the retail sector after Black Friday sales kicked off the U.S. Christmas shopping season for retailers. The National Retail Federation expects sales to grow 4.1 percent this year. Greece said the International Monetary Fund had relaxed its debt-cutting target, suggesting lenders were closer to a deal for a vital aid tranche to be paid. But other sources involved in the talks cautioned the funding gap was far bigger than Greece has suggested. New Zealand's benchmark NZX 50 index inched up 0.1 percent or 3.8 points to 4,012.1. STOCKS ON THE MOVE * Rare earths miner Lynas Corp was up 0.3 percent to A$0.72 following a large protest in Malaysia's capital against the opening of the Australian company's rare-earths processing plant on the country's east coast. (0053 GMT) * Supermarket giant Woolworths Ltd slipped 0.4 percent to A$28.55. The food retailer announced the successful closure of the Offer of Stapled Units in SCA Property Group, a newly established Real Estate Investment Trust owning a portfolio of Australian and New Zealand shopping centres. (0054 GMT) * New South Wales-based gold explorer Sovereign Gold Company leaped 10.9 percent to A$0.255 after it announced a $21 million funding agreement with Chinese State-Owned Enterprise (SOE), Jiangsu Geology and Engineering to accelerate exploration activities on its gold tenements. (0055 GMT) (Reporting by Thuy Ong; Editing by Jeremy Laurence)
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DAVOS, Switzerland - Central banks have done their best to rescue the world economy by printing money and politicians must now act fast to enact structural reforms and pro-investment policies to boost growth, central bankers said on Saturday.
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