(Adds details, comments, stocks on the move)
SYDNEY, April 9 (Reuters) - Australian shares rallied 0.9 percent on Tuesday, led by blue chip financials and miners after Wall Street and metals prices rose overnight.
Financials underpinned the market, with Westpac Banking Corp the biggest gainer in the sector, climbing 1.7 percent.
Global iron ore miners also helped lead the index higher, BHP Billiton Ltd added 0.9 percent while rival Rio Tinto Ltd jumped 1.9 percent.
“It’s hard to say which direction the market will go but I think near term the biggest catalysts will be the results from the U.S. earnings season,” said Haris Khaliqi, research analyst at Foster Stockbroking.
“There’s a lot of variables at play at the moment. What’s happening in Europe and Chinese trade data will also have a material impact on sentiment and direction.”
The S&P/ASX 200 index climbed 43.6 points, to 4,949.1 by 0109 GMT. The benchmark rose 0.3 percent on Monday, snapping three sessions of losses.
Copper prices rose, rebounding from falls the previous week, as the euro gained ground against the dollar and a strike in Chile raised concerns over temporary supply constraints.
The mood was helped by U.S. stocks ending a volatile session higher on Monday as investors looked ahead to an earnings season expected to show modest growth despite concerns about the economy’s health.
“Alcoa’s better-than-expected result and stronger base metals supported early confidence,” said Ric Spooner, chief market analyst at CMC Markets.
“However, economic statistics and market direction in China and Japan may set direction later in the day.”
Elsewhere defensives were mostly firmer. Consumer staples Woolworths Ltd and rival Wesfarmers Ltd rose 0.9 percent and 0.5 percent respectively. Blood products maker CSL Ltd lost 0.7 percent while bionic hearing implant maker Cochlear inched up 0.2 percent.
Energy and gas explorers Woodside Petroleum Ltd and Oil Search climbed 1.8 percent and 0.7 percent.
Steel futures in China, Australia’s biggest trading partner, rose on Monday to their highest in more than a week in anticipation of improving demand in the second quarter, supporting raw material iorn ore.
New Zealand’s benchmark NZX 50 index inched up 0.3 percent, or 13.2 points, to 4,410.4.
* Shares in Sundance Resources sank 49.05 percent to a four-year low of A$0.107 after the Africa-focused miner terminated a $1.4 billion takeover by private Chinese firm Hanlong Group and said it was in talks with other parties.
* Ten Network Holdings jumped 4.1 percent to A$0.307 after the struggling TV broadcaster posted a A$243 million first half loss, but its CEO Hamish McLennan said the company had addressed performance issues including a A$230 million capital raising and a reduction of net debt by A$262 million to A$1.2 million. Shares in Ten have nearly halved in value over the past year.
* Shares in surfwear retailer Billabong International were suspended. The battered company may announce a A$287 million ($298 million) takeover by a consortium led by its former U.S. chief, Paul Naude, according to media reports.
* Echo Entertainment Group Ltd added 1.4 percent to A$3.66 after it said its unsolicited proposal to the New South Wales government has advanced to stage 2.
Reporting by Thuy Ong; Editing by Eric Meijer