Australia shares up on strong miners; capped ahead of US holiday

Tue Nov 20, 2012 12:46am GMT

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CANBERRA, Nov 20 (Reuters) - Australian shares edged up 0.2
percent in late morning trade on Tuesday, supported by miners
and broad optimism over encouraging housing data and fiscal
negotiations in the United States, but gains were capped ahead
of a U.S. holiday.
    "Sustaining the momentum over the week is going to be
difficult because of the holiday in the U.S.," said Michael
McCarthy, chief market strategist at CMC Markets.
    "They (investors) see no need to jump in right now, given
that they are unlikely to see further leads until next week," he
added.
    U.S. markets will be closed on Thursday for the Thanksgiving
holiday.
    The benchmark S&P/ASX 200 was 12.7 points higher at
4,374.1 as of 0016 GMT. The index rose 0.6 percent on Monday.
    Top miners led the gains, with BHP Billiton Ltd 
climbing 1.2 percent. Rio Tinto Ltd jumped 1.9 percent,
while Fortescue Metals Group Ltd rallied 3.6 percent. 
    Origin Energy rose 2.6 percent, after media
reported Royal Dutch Shell might feed its gas into
other LNG projects in the area due to rising costs.
 
    "There is not a single investment theme playing in the
market," said McCarthy. "The companies that have been bought
today are bought on their individual merits."
    New Zealand's benchmark NZX 50 index rose 0.8
percent to 3,975.0.
    
    STOCKS ON THE MOVE 
    * Shares of New Zealand's Fletcher Building Ltd 
surged almost 4 percent to their highest in more than a year,
after the company said it expected at least a 12 percent rise in
earnings this year. 
    (0024 GMT)
    
    * Professional services provider Cardno Ltd plunged
almost 14 percent, its biggest ever one-day loss, after it said
the impact of superstorm Sandy in the U.S. northeast would
affect its first-half profit. 
    (0025 GMT)

 (Reporting By Maggie Lu Yueyang; Editing by Chris Gallagher)