March 7, 2013 / 12:30 AM / 4 years ago

Australia shares edge up, miners firm

(Adds details, comments, stocks on the move)
    SYDNEY, March 7 (Reuters) - Australian shares edged up 0.2
percent in early trade after the Dow reached another record, on
signs of improvement in the U.S. jobs market and domestic data
showing Australia's economy grew at a moderate pace last
quarter.
    Australia's economy grew 0.6 percent in the quarter as a
long-awaited surge in resource exports helped offset softness
elsewhere, according to official data. 
    Gold miners underpinned the market on Thursday, with
Newcrest Mining posting gains of 1.4 percent and gold
and nickel miner Regis Resources jumping 3.6 percent. 
    The S&P/ASX 200 index was 6.1 points higher at
5,122.9 by 2355 GMT. The benchmark rose 0.8 percent on Wednesday
to fresh 4-1/2 year highs and is enjoying a bull run, up 10
percent for the year on a strong corporate earnings season and
optimism for the global economy.
    "In Australia, people are still thinking bout the RBA
potentially cutting rates," said Damien Boey, equity strategist
at Credit Suisse, referring to the Reserve Bank of Australia.
    Blue chip miners also posted gains, with BHP Billiton Ltd
 and Rio Tinto Ltd up 0.6 percent and 0.5
percent respectively. 
    China's top economic planning agency lashed out at the
world's top three iron ore miners on Wednesday, accusing them
and some traders of manipulating the market to drive an 80
percent rally in ore prices in just six months. 
    Financials were mixed, Westpac Banking Corp losing
0.7 percent after reaching all-time highs on Wednesday.
Australia and New Zealand Banking Group slipped 0.3
percent while top lender Commonwealth Bank of Australia 
edged up 0.2 percent and National Australia Bank jumped
1.3 percent.
    "Some of these stocks have become a bit pricey, so there's a
bit of technical selling and buying around that," said Boey.
    Wall Street mostly edged higher on Wednesday with the Dow
Jones industrial average hitting another record closing high of
14,296.2 after stocks were bolstered by improved labour market
data. 
    New Zealand's benchmark NZX 50 index rose 0.8
percent or 33.6 points to 4,331.5.
    
    STOCKS ON THE MOVE
    * Top telecoms provider Telstra Ltd slipped 0.3
percent to A$4.56 after it announced a benchmark EUR$1 billion
bond issue. 
    (2353 GMT)
    
    * Decmil Group Ltd lost 1.8 percent to A$2.39 after
the construction company was awarded a $25 million Shell
contract. 
    (2354 GMT)
    



 (Reporting By Thuy Ong; Editing by Stephen Coates)

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