The S&P/ASX 200 is trading 0.5% higher, standing on top of yesterday’s slim 0.1% gain, as a clutch of holiday closures in Asia today helps to thin volumes in Sydney.
The backbone of the advance are the big banks (ANZ, NAB and CBA all up 0.5% apiece, Westpac up 0.9%) and the gold miners (Newcrest up 1.5%, Evolution up 1.2% after gains for gold futures overnight).
Other mining majors had started broadly higher, but reported jitters in the iron-ore market — high inventories and a questionable Chinese steel-demand outlook, among other issues — are weighing on some of the ore miners.
At this point, it’s Rio Tinto down 0.4%, Fortescue down 1.4%, and Atlas Iron down 0.6%, while BHP Billiton is up 0.1% and Mt. Gibson Iron is flat.
Retailers are broadly stronger (Myer up 0.7%, Harvey Norman up 0.6%). But shares of upscale department-store operator David Jones are lagging with a 0.2% gain. This, after it posted a 2.4% rise in fiscal-third-quarter same-store sales, while online sales almost tripled.
And then there’s Lynas Corp., trading down 3%, as it seeks to raise about $37 million, mostly through a share-purchase plan underwritten by Patersons Securities (according to Dow Jones Newswires).
On a similar note, shares in Bendigo & Adelaide Bank are 2.7% lower as the market reacts to its equity raising.