Dec 22 - Australian shares edged up on Thursday although
Wall Street took a breather from scaling record highs ahead of
quarterly U.S. economic data due out later in the day.
Investors are waiting for a range of indicators including
the third estimate of U.S. third-quarter gross domestic product,
personal income, and spending to gauge the strength of the
"The GDP data definitely could be a catalyst that drives us
(Australia) - people are looking forward to the GDP number and
that hopefully that will be the thing that pushes the Dow above
20,000," said Christopher Conway, head of research and trading
at Australian Stock Report
U.S. stocks edged down and the dollar eased from 14-year
highs on Wednesday, giving back some of the gains chalked up
since Donald Trump's election to president as investors took
The S&P/ASX 200 index entered its fourth straight
day of gains, up 0.38 percent, or 21.12 points, at 5,634.47 at
0144 GMT, after having seen substantial gains this week.
Financial stocks, which have been beneficiaries of the rally
sparked by Donald Trump's election as U.S. President, led the
gains with the benchmark financial index up for a fifth
straight, hovering around over 16-month highs.
The "Big Four" banks were higher in the range of 0.2 percent
to 0.6 percent.
Consumer stocks and industrials also gained with retailers
Woolworths and Wesfarmers rising over 1
Sentiment was also buoyed by iron ore recovering from its
5-day slide, ending higher on Wednesday and copper holding
steady on the London Metal Exchange. [IRONORE/}
Fortescue Metals, which has had a phenomenal run
this year, gained as much as 1.93 percent while Rio Tinto
rose 0.7 percent.
However, BHP Billiton, which has significant oil
exposure, shed as much as 1.35 percent as oil prices fell on
Wednesday on news of rising crude inventories in the United
States and Libya expecting to boost production.
Fuel supplier Caltex Australia and oil producer
Santos ltd shed 1.9 percent and 1.64 percent
The Origin Energy utility, which has natural gas
interests, fell 0.78 percent for a third straight day of losses,
dragging the sector down.
New Zealand's benchmark S&P/NZX 50 index entered its
fifth straight session of gains as it rose 0.39 percent, or 26.8
points, to 6,829.04.
The gains were led by financials and healthcare sectors with
Australia and New Zealand Banking gaining over 1
percent for the seventh straight day, while Fisher & Paykel
Healthcare climbed 2.4 percent.
For more individual stocks activity click on
(Reporting by Susan Mathew in Bengaluru; Additional reporting
by Aparajita Saxena; Editing by Eric Meijer)