Feb 13 Mining stocks drove Australian shares
higher on Monday after iron ore and copper prices jumped, with
BHP Billiton and Rio Tinto accounting for most of the gains.
The S&P/ASX 200 index rose 27.59 points, or 0.5
percent, to 5,748.2 by 0045 GMT with BHP Billiton and
Rio Tinto rising 2.1 percent and 3 percent,
"It is the miners (driving the gains) to an extent. The
material sector is the strongest performing sector. A lot of the
strength is coming from the materials but there are other
pockets of strengths in the market as well," said Christopher
Conway, head of research and trading at Australian Stock Report.
"Australian companies are doing quite well despite a
somewhat challenging environment globally," Conway added.
Chinese iron ore futures jumped nearly 8 percent on Friday
to their highest level in three years, lifted by news that
January imports into the world's second largest economy surged
on the back of a sharp uptick in demand from steel mills.
Copper prices also rose, soaring to their highest in over 20
months on Friday, after BHP Billiton declared force majeure due
to a strike at the world's biggest copper mine in Chile.
Fortescue Metals Group Ltd advanced 4.2 percent,
extending gains into a second session, while OZ Minerals Ltd
jumped as much as 5.2 percent to hit a near five-year
The benchmark index also got a lift from strong earnings of
companies in other sectors, such as retailer JB Hi-Fi Ltd
, which jumped 5.8 percent after it reported a 24
percent jump in sales for the six-months ended Dec. 31.
Rail freight company Aurizon Holdings Ltd rose as
much as 5.4 percent to touch a more than one-year high after it
reported an 18 percent rise in its first half underlying
Newcrest Mining Ltd, Australia's top gold miner,
was up 1.5 percent after it said it quadrupled its half-year
underlying profit on the back of stronger gold prices and cost
Rubber products maker Ansell Ltd defied the rally,
falling more than 3 percent after it posted a flat profit growth
for its half-year ended Dec. 31.
Seven constituent stock in the benchmark index posted fresh
52-week highs on Monday.
New Zealand's benchmark S&P/NZX 50 index rose 0.4
percent or 27.38 points to 7,131.81, with utilities and
materials stocks accounting for most of the gains.
Contact Energy was the biggest gainer, rising 3.1
percent after it reported a 12 percent rise in its first-half
Fletcher Building and Metro Performance Glass
were among the other gainers, rising 1.9 percent and
1.3 percent respectively.
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(Reporting By Shashwat Pradhan; Additional reporting by Hanna
Paul in Bengaluru; Editing by Sam Holmes)