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DJ Australia Shares End Up 0.5% As Sellers Retreat
December 23, 2013

SYDNEY--Australia's share market hit a three-week high Monday, as sellers retreated after the U.S. Federal Reserve pledged last week to keep its easy-money policy in place to support the U.S. economic recovery. The benchmark S&P/ASX 200 closed up 0.5% at 5291.9 on light volume after rising to 5293.5. Banks outperformed, with Commonwealth Bank, Westpac and National Australia Bank all rising 1.1% after saying they could easily meet an additional 1% capital buffer imposed by the Australian Prudential Regulation Authority. Miners lagged, with BHP down 0.2%. Boart Longyear jumped 16% after the mining services company said its earnings were stabilizing. After surging alongside offshore markets last week, Australian shares continued rising amid a lack of selling before year-end. "With little on the agenda for domestic news, the local market is likely to be led by international markets between now and the New Year," said CMC Markets chief market analyst Ric Spooner. With Japan closed for a public holiday, the value of trades shrank to 1.6 billion Australian dollars (US$1.4 billion). Australia's banking regulator said the big-four banks would have to raise their capital buffer to 8% from 7% at the start of 2016 to guard against unseen economic shocks. CMC Market's Mr. Spooner said the increased reserve requirement was at the lower end of expectations. Write to David Rogers at david.rogers@wsj.com