Australia shares edge up, led by banks and small miners; NZ rises too
By Devika Syamnath
Aug 9 (Reuters) - Australian shares rose slightly on Friday,
with smaller mining stocks and blue-chip banks leading gains,
though many investors shied away from big moves.
At 0232 GMT, Australia's S&P/ASX 200 index was up
0.3%, or 19 points, to 6,587.1.
Early Friday, Asian share markets firmed off a Wall Street
rally that was helped by China's better-than-expected June
export figures, though fresh concerns about Sino-U.S. trade ties
could limit gains.
A Bloomberg report said Washington is delaying a decision
about licenses for U.S. firms to restart trade with Huawei
Technologies, the latest development in the
long-running trade tariff saga.
"Not too many people want to take big bets going into the
weekend .... with not a lot of market data next week, it's at
the mercy of a tweet storm," said Mathan Somasundaram,
Sydney-based market portfolio strategist at Blue Ocean Equities,
referring to messages on Twitter from President Donald Trump on
The mining index saw meagre gains, mostly
contributed by lithium and nickel miners.
Lithium miners Orocobre and Pilbara Minerals
were the top gainers on the benchmark index, at one
point up 10.3% and 6.5%, respectively.
The world's biggest lithium producer Albemarle Corp
said it would delay construction plans for about 125,000 tons of
lithium processing capacity due to a supply glut.
Australian nickel miner Independence Group NL
surged as much as 5.3% to its highest level in well over four
Nickel prices leaped to a 16-month high as fears rippled
through the market that major supplier Indonesia could bring
forward a ban on exports of nickel ore.
Australia's "Big Four" banks, other than National Australia
Bank, gained between 0.4% and 1.1%. NAB was 0.3% lower.
The gold index cooled off after having gained 7.6%
this week. Gold prices edged down on Thursday as equities
Gold miner Newcrest Mining and Evolution Mining
lost as much as 2.1% and 1.8%, respectively.
BHP Group and Rio Tinto lost 0.4% and
Casino operator Crown Resorts Ltd fell as much as
2.3% to a near six-month low.
A Melco Resorts & Entertainment spokesperson in an
emailed statement to Reuters said the company would cooperate
with an Australian gaming regulator's inquiry on its $1.2
billion stake purchase in Crown Resorts..
New Zealand benchmark S&P/NZX 50 index was 0.3%
higher at 10,903.63.
Investore Property was top gainer on the benchmark,
rising 5.3% to a record high.
(Reporting by Devika Syamnath in Bengaluru)
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