Australian shares edged up on Thursday, tracking Wall Street higher, with the gains fairly broad based, driven by material and consumer stocks.
Australia’s S&P/ASX 200 index was up 13.342 points, or 0.2 per cent to 5,664.2 by 0155 GMT, according to Reuters.
Australia’s goods and services trade surplus grew to A$989 million ($775 million) versus the expected A$875 million, and July’s trade surplus of A$460 million.
The gain was thanks largely to a 10 per cent rebound in iron ore, Australia’s single biggest export earner.
Mining stocks, which had been under pressure in the previous session, drove gains with BHP Billiton and Rio Tinto adding 0.9 per cent and 1.8 per cent respectively.
The materials index was also boosted by gold stocks, with Newcrest mining gaining 1.3 per cent.
Laggards for the past three sessions, retailers Wesfarmers and Woolworths gained, up 0.7 per cent and 0.2 per cent respectively, shrugging off data that showed retail sales for August fell 0.6 per cent against the expected 0.3 per cent rise.
Financial and energy stocks were among the losers, with the “Big Four” banks each losing more than 0.4 per cent. The S&P 500 Financial (Sector) index ended 0.3 per cent lower in the previous session.
Among oil stocks, Woodside Petroleum declined 0.4 per cent, while Origin Energy lost 0.7 per cent.
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