Australian shares climb as banks lead the way

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Office workers arrive to the Wespac Banking Corp building in central Sydney November 3, 2010. Reuters/Daniel Munoz

Australian shares rose on Monday with banks leading the way. Westpac recorded a 1 percent rise, while ANZ climbed 0.9 percent. CBA and NAB received a 0.7 and 0.8 percent increase, respectively.

Traders were picking up on a rally in the US last week where all benchmarks climbed over 1.4 percent. The advance back over 6000 for the ASX followed a retreat in US Treasury yields, Sydney Morning Herald reports.

The S&P/ASX 200 index climbed 26 points to 6026. All Ordinaries advanced 26 points to 6131.

Mixed results were seen for the largest supermarket chains. Woolworths was up 1.90 percent. Wesfarmers, on the other hand, moved down 2.7 percent, leading decliners in points terms.

Vocus Group shares climbed 4.2 percent after it has been said that chief executive Geoff Horth was stepping down. He along with the telecommunications provider's board of directors had reportedly decided a need for a fresh start after the market's reaction to the business downgrading guidance.

After reporting a 23 percent increase in profit, BlueScope Steel saw a 4 percent jump. It has also extended its share buyback program. Sales revenue for the six months to December 31 had grown 7 percent to $5.48 billion, according to the steelmaker. The result is primarily due to the higher steel prices across all segments.

Mining stocks also recorded improvements with BHP up (0.72 percent) and Rio Tinto up (0.26 percent). Fortescue Metals saw 0.77 percent rise and Newcrest Mining was unchanged at 0.00 percent.

Oil and gas producers soared. Woodside Petroleum was up (1.61 percent), Santos up (0.39 percent) and Oil Search up (0.66 percent).

In the travel sector, Qantas jumped 5.9 percent, while Flight Centre rose 10.4 percent after declaring its half-year net profit at 37.2 percent. Webjet shares rose 16 percent higher after the company announced a 63 percent surge in first-half adjusted operating earnings. Shareholders were also told that it was expecting trading for 2H18 to be stronger.

CMC Markets' chief market strategist Michael McCarthy told Xinhua on Monday that investors have a positive picture of corporate health as the US and Australian reporting seasons draw to a close. "And a further surge in European and US stock markets is pointing to a strong start in Asia Pacific trading today,” he added.

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