Feb 6 Australian shares climbed on Monday,
taking their cue from stronger U.S. markets after President
Donald Trump signed executive orders to review banking rules
implemented after the 2008 global financial crisis.
The S&P/ASX 200 index rose 11.8 points or 0.21
percent to 5,633.4 by 0100 GMT.
Though Trump's order was short on specifics, the U.S.
financial market embraced his signal that looser banking
regulation was coming, pushing bank stocks higher.
"It's basically a bit of wind-back of the tightening of
(banking) regulations since the Dodd Frank act. It doesn't
necessarily sound prudent, but it's obviously positive for bank
profitability, particularly in the U.S.," said Bill Keenan,
general manager equities and researcher at Lonsec.
The Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection
Act was signed by former President Barack Obama in 2010 as a
response to the financial crisis.
The Act created new regulatory bodies and directed
already-existing agencies to write hundreds of regulations aimed
at creating stability in the financial markets.
"There's an expectation that some of the global banking
regulations might also lighten because they don't want to put
global banks at disadvantage to the U.S. banks," he added.
In Australia, financials made up three-fourths of the gains
on the index, with all the 'Big Four' banks up.
National Australia Bank was the biggest gainer
among the four, after it reported first-quarter cash earnings of
A$1.6 billion, in line with expectations. Its cash profit fell 1
Gold stocks rose over 2 percent, after gold prices
crawled higher on Monday on a weaker dollar.
Gold miner St Barbara rose 6.2 percent to its
highest since Nov. 10, while Evolution Mining gained 3
Material stocks were the biggest drag on the index, with the
metals index slipping 0.8 percent.
BHP Billiton led sector losses after workers at its
Escondida mine prepared to re-enter dialogue with the company on
Unionised workers at the world's largest copper mine last
week rejected the last company wage offer and voted for a work
However, the union said late on Thursday night that the
company had asked for mediation by Chile's Labor Directorate,
which effectively extends negotiations and pushes back the start
of a possible strike.
BHP Billiton fell as much as 2.02 percent for a
third consecutive session, to its lowest in a month.
Virgin Australia Holdings slipped 4.9 percent after
its budget unit, Tigerair Australia, said it would quit flying
to Bali permanently following a spat with Indonesian
New Zealand markets are closed for a public holiday. On
Friday, the benchmark S&P/NZX 50 index edged up 0.6
percent to 7,094.38.
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(Reporting by Aparajita Saxena, Additional reporting by Krishna
V Kurup in Bengaluru; Editing by Jacqueline Wong)