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Australia: Miners push Aussie shares higher as US dollar falls


[MELBOURNE] Australian shares rose 0.7 per cent on Monday on the back of strong gains in mining stocks, after surprisingly weak US jobs growth knocked the US dollar and sent gold and metal prices higher.

The S&P/ASX 200 index jumped 38.2 points, or 0.7 per cent, to 5,357.1 by 0224 GMT, adding to a 0.8 per cent rise last Friday.

Six of the top seven gainers were gold miners, led by St Barbara Mines, up 14 percent. Its bigger rivals, including Australia's No. 1 gold miner Newcrest Mining, rose between 11 and 13 per cent after gold hit a two-week high.

"I'm quite positive on gold going forward," said Martin Angel, a dealer at Patersons Securities in Perth. "The US dollar has the potential to weaken as their (economic) numbers aren't coming in as expected. That's normally good for gold," he said.

Similarly, copper and zinc prices jumped as the US dollar fell, boosting top global miners BHP Billiton and Rio Tinto around 4 per cent.

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Among the major banks, Australia and New Zealand Banking Group slipped 0.2 per cent, while its rivals rose around 1 per cent.

Australia's big insurers came under pressure in the wake of fierce rain storms that left a trail of damage along the east coast over the weekend.

QBE Insurance Group and Insurance Australia Group both fell more than 2 per cent, while Suncorp fell 1.6 per cent.

Contractor UGL Ltd slumped as much as 35 per cent to its lowest since February after warning it may have to book a provision for a loss of up to A$200 million on its work for the huge Ichthys liquefied natural gas project off northwestern Australia, on top of a A$175 million provision already booked.

For more individual stocks activity click on The New Zealand market was closed for a public holiday on Monday.


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