Australia shares up 0.9 pct, led by miners and banks

Fri Dec 7, 2012 6:58am IST

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(Adds details, comments, stocks on the move)
    Dec 7 (Reuters) - Australian shares rose 0.9 percent on
Friday morning, with top miners supported by rebounding iron ore
prices and banks recovering from losses the previous day, as
investors became more confident now that a series of economic
data this week is out of the way.
    "I wonder with a number of national data hurdles cleared, if
those investors who've been buying dividend returns are back in
the market today," said Michael McCarthy, chief market
strategist at CMC Markets.
    Australia's gross domestic product rose 0.5 percent in the
third quarter, roughly in line with forecasts though the
smallest rise since early 2011, while employment data beat
expectations for a second month in November, with the jobless
rate surprising everyone with a drop to 5.2
percent.  
    "It looks like investors are showing more confidence this
morning," McCarthy added.
    Top global miner BHP Billiton Ltd climbed 0.9
percent and rival Rio Tinto Ltd added 0.7 percent. Gold
miner Newcrest jumped 1.7 percent as gold rose on
short-covering.
    McCarthy said miners were mainly supported by optimism about
Chinese economic growth, as China's new leaders were likely to
stick with the 2012 growth target of 7.5 percent when charting a
course for next year. 
    "One of the reasons for the gains is better news we've seen
from China and expectations the economy there has stabilised and
growth has improved modestly," said Michael McCarthy, chief
market strategist at CMC Markets.
    The benchmark S&P/ASX 200 index gained 42.1 points
to 4,551.4 by 0100 GMT. The benchmark slipped 0.3 percent on
Thursday.
    The Australian market also took a positive lead from Europe,
said Chris Weston, an institutional dealer at IG Markets, after
the European Central Bank (ECB) discussed negative deposit rates
at its meeting on Thursday. 
    "The big move overnight was that the ECB is considering
negative deposit rates, which could be really quite good for
other assets as well," Weston said.
    The major banks all advanced, led by a 1.1 rise in National
Bank of Australia led. The nation's biggest lender,
Commonwealth Bank of Australia, rose almost 1.0
percent.
    Retailers rose ahead of the Christmas season, led by
department store David Jones Ltd, which gained 1.2
percent. Wesfarmers Ltd, owner of supermarket chain
Coles, also added 1.2 percent. 
    Among defensive stocks, blood products maker CSL Ltd
 jumped 2.9 percent and telecommunications company
Telstra Corp Ltd added 0.6 percent.
    New Zealand's benchmark NZX 50 index rose 0.5
percent to 4,044.7 in early trade.
    
    STOCKS ON THE MOVE
    * Myer Holdings Ltd rose 1.2 percent, despite
saying at its annual general meeting that a challenging retail
and economic environment is continuing both in Australia and
internationally.
    (0053 GMT)

 (Reporting By Maggie Lu Yueyang; Editing by Chris Gallagher)
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