Australia shares rise on financials, weaker Aussie dollar

Sun Nov 24, 2013 8:11pm EST
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(Adds analysis, quotes, stocks on the move)

SYDNEY Nov 25 (Reuters) - Australian shares rose 0.6 percent on Monday morning, buoyed by a strong financial sector after Wall Street climbed to record highs, with a weaker Australian dollar supporting stocks of companies with a large offshore exposure.

Financials led the market higher. Commonwealth Bank of Australia added 0.3 percent and Australia and New Zealand Banking Group rose 0.5 percent. Top investment bank Macquarie Group Ltd climbed 1 percent.

Momentum was set up by Friday's gains on Wall Street, when the S&P 500 closed above 1,800 for the first time and the Dow Jones industrial average posted another record close.

"It's a very strong year on the Australian sharemarket, and sector-wise we've seen every single sector except for the materials space gaining ground in 2013," said Julia Lee, equities analyst at Bell Direct.

The S&P/ASX 200 index was up 32 points to 5,367.9 by 0033 GMT, extending a 0.9 percent rise on Friday.

Although the benchmark lost 1.2 percent last week, analysts said the trend since June has been upwards with only minor corrections. The market has gained 15.4 percent so far in 2013, and hit a five-year peak of 5,457.3 on October 28.

Stocks with a large exposure to the U.S. market climbed on Monday. Logistics company Brambles Ltd added 0.9 percent and blood products maker CSL Ltd rallied 1.1 percent. Amcor Ltd rose 0.9 percent.

The fall in the Australian dollar to 2-1/2 month lows against the U.S. dollar should help the earnings of exporters and companies who earn significant revenues in overseas markets.   Continued...