CANBERRA, Nov 20 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)
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