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Australia: Shares claw back early losses on energy bounce

Wednesday, December 9, 2015 - 10:54
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[SYDNEY] Australian shares erased early losses on Wednesday after energy and mining stocks recovered lost ground, though investors remained wary of volatility in the commodity world.

After trading 0.8 per cent lower, the S&P/ASX 200 index pared losses to be down 0.2 per cent at 5,095 at 0211 GMT. The benchmark is down nearly 1 per cent this week.

Dealers said bargain hunters helped a rebound in the energy sector, with oil and gas firm Santos up 3.7 per cent after touching a 15-year trough on Tuesday. Gas company Karoon was another winner, up 4 per cent.

But investors were selective, opting to sell Origin Energy, down 3 per cent, and Whitehaven Coal, off 1.2 per cent.

Mining giant BHP Billiton rose 1.1 per cent after its share price broke key support below A$17 and opened the door to bargain hunters.

Financials were mixed, with index heavy weight Commonwealth Bank of Australia up 0.6 percent while peers National Australia Bank and ANZ Bank were both down 0.8 percent. Westpac Bank eased 0.2 per cent.

Services company Spotless Group rose 3 per cent in a relief rally after keeping its dividend policy in place.

The firm issued a profit warning earlier this month.

For more individual stocks activity, click on: New Zealand's benchmark NZX 50 index rose 0.2 per cent or 13.09 points to 6,048.09 on Wednesday.

The biggest gainers were Xero, which added 3.9 per cent and Steel & Tube, which was trading 0.9 per cent higher.

The biggest losers included A2 Milk, down 0.9 per cent as sentiment appeared hurt by the overnight tumble in commodities. Domestic investors will be waiting for any direction from Thursday's central bank monetary policy statement.

REUTERS