August 14, 2019 / 2:56 AM / 3 months ago

Australia shares join global rally as miners bounce, CSL gains

* Major miners lift as Sino-U.S. trade war takes breather

* CSL hits all-time high on record 2019 profit

* CBA falls as it trades ex-dividend

* Gold stocks fall as trade uncertainty eases

By Nikhil Nainan

Aug 14 (Reuters) - Australian shares joined a global equities rally on Wednesday as heavyweight mining stocks benefited after Washington delayed tariffs on some Chinese imports that were slated to take effect in September.

The boost from the U.S. announcement overnight eclipsed a raft of unexpectely weak data from China which pointed to a further loss of economic momentum, including the weakest industrial output growth in more than 17 years.

The benchmark S&P/ASX 200 index advanced as much as 0.5% in early trade, also supported by strong gains in CSL Ltd after the biotech giant reported record earnings for 2019. The market eased slightly to 6,575.10, up 6.6 points by 0150 GMT.

The index closed 0.3% lower on Tuesday on concerns about a number of geopolitical events, including the trade war, Hong Kong protests and Argentina’s peso crash.

U.S. President Donald Trump’s decision to selectively delay tariffs on certain imports that were set to go into effect on Sept. 1 was seen by many as possibly dialling down immediate frictions that have been at the forefront over the last week.

RBC Economists Nathan Janzen and Claire Fan said in a note that the postponement provides some respite but not an end to the uncertainty over trade policy, noting the issue was “moving back closer to a simmer than a boil.”

Major miners Rio Tinto and Fortescue Metals Group jumped as much as 4.8% and 5.5%, respectively.

Australian miners are particularly exposed to the trade war as the Asian giant is the country’s largest trading partner.

CSL, Australia’s fourth-largest listed company, provided the biggest boost to the benchmark on the back of its strong 2019 results. CSL climbed as much as 7.4% to an all-time high.

At the other end of the market, gold stocks, which have been in favour with investors as a safe haven amid trade tensions, sank lower. Newcrest Mining dropped 3.6%, while Evolution Mining fell 6.5%.

Overall gains were also capped by a 3.2% fall in Australia’s top lender Commonwealth Bank of Australia as it traded ex-dividend.

National Australia Bank, the third largest lender by market value, fell 0.3% after reporting flat growth in its third-quarter cash profit and flagged more expenses related to customer remediation in the second half of fiscal 2019.

New Zealand’s benchmark S&P/NZX 50 index edged 0.1% higher to 10,864.07.

Vista Group, which supplies software to the global movie industry, led the gains with a 2% rise, while Synlait Milk rose 1.9%.

For more individual stocks activity click on (Reporting by Nikhil Kurian Nainan in Bengaluru; Editing by Jane Wardell)

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