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ASX 200 builds on gains

The S&P ASX 200 closed up 14.6 points, or 0.3%, to 4,771.2 as U.S. stocks rose overnight on positive data while China’s economy showed signs that its recovery remained on track. Dow Futures were up 2 points from its close of 13,544.
ASX 200 builds on gains

Australian shares have built on yesterday’s positive momentum with the benchmark S&P ASX 200 gaining 14.6 points, or 0.3%, to 4,771.2 on the back of encouraging overseas leads.
The broader All Ords was also up 15 points, or 0.3%, to 4,794.7.

U.S. stocks gained sharply overnight with stronger than expected U.S. housing data pointing to possible economic growth in the world’s largest economy, while China’s economic recovery appeared to be on track with GDP for the December quarter up 7.9% year on year, a little above market expectations of a 7.8% rise.

The Nikkei was up 2.5% to 10,869.4 while the Hang Seng picked up 174.34 points, or 0.7%, to 23,514.1.

Credit Suisse equity strategist Atul Lele told the AFR that while the world was in a better shape, certain domestic tactical indicators, like credit risk appetite, were starting to show there’s more risk.

Australian unemployment has also increased by 5.4% with 5,500 jobs lost during the month.

Unsurprisingly, the rise in copper and gold prices lent strength to the Materials sector, allowing it to post the second highest gains on the ASX behind Info Tech.

Materials was up 80.6 points, or 0.8%, to 10,641 as the big miners posted gains.

Rio Tinto (ASX: RIO) was up $1.75, or 2.71%, to $66.35 after it appointed iron ore chief Sam Walsh to replace Tom Albanese as chief executive.

Albanese had led the company through the acquisition of Alcan Pacific Aluminium and its Mozambique coal assets, both of which are responsible for a massive US$14 billion worth of writedowns.

BHP Billiton (ASX: BHP) rose $0.16, or 0.44%, to $36.50, Fortescue Metals Group (ASX: FMG) up $0.14, or 3.2%, to $4.52 while Newcrest Mining (ASX: NCM) gained $0.03, or 0.13% to $23.

The big four banks posted mixed results with National Australia Bank (ASX: NAB) up $0.31, or 1.19%, to $26.35, ANZ Bank (ASX: ANZ) up $0.02, or 0.08%, to $25.59, Commonwealth Bank (ASX: CBA) unchanged at $62.46 and Westpac Bank (ASX: WBC) down $0.03, or 0.11%, to $26.59.

Norwest Energy (ASX: NWE) was up $0.003, or 6%, to $0.053 after resuming flow testing of its Arrowsmith-2 and finding evidence that the Kockatea Shale reservoir was capable of recharging itself.

Azure Minerals (ASX:AZS) put on $0.015, or 27.78%, to $0.069 on the back of encouraging high grade copper intersections of up to 1.5 metres at 11.9% copper equivalent at its Promontorio project in Mexico.

Last, but certainly not least, Rox Resources (ASX: RXL) was up $0.01, or 17.24%, to $0.068 after starting a ground electromagnetic survey to follow up on its nickel sulphide discovery at Fisher East in Western Australia.

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