Australia Markets closed

Aust shares close firmer

Australian stocks rebounded to post modest gains after closing at four-month lows on Monday.

Bargain-hunters targeted resources companies that had been heavily sold lately, but other sectors including the banks also posted modest gains on Tuesday.

The market has been down more than six per cent in the past fortnight before Tuesday's quarter of a percentage point gain.

The Reserve Bank's decision to leave interest rates on hold had a slightly negative effect on stocks.

"Certainly a few people are seeing some value at the moment," Commsec market analyst Juliette Saly said.

Among materials stocks, BHP Billiton rose 17 cents, or half a per cent, to $34.26, Rio Tinto posted a $1.33, or 2.47 per cent, gain to $55.13 and Fortescue shot up 20 cents, or 6.13 per cent, to $3.46.

Among the big four banks, ANZ lifted six cents to $27.91, Commonwealth Bank gained 23 cents to $67.15, while National Australia Bank was the best performer improving 31 cents to $29.61 and Westpac was five cents weaker at $28.85.

Making news on Tuesday was Billabong, which lost $100 million in market capitalisation to be 22.5 cents, or 45.6 per cent, down at 22.5 cents after yet another takeover bid for the troubled retailer collapsed.

The company has downgraded earnings by 10 per cent and appears headed for a net loss.

The biggest losers were in consumer staples, including Wesfarmers, which dropped 45 cents, or 1.14 per cent, to $38.91 and Woolworths, which shed 16 cents to $32.55.


* At the close on Tuesday, the benchmark S&P/ASX200 index was up 12.5 points, or 0.26 per cent, at 4,900.8 points.

* The broader All Ordinaries index was 13 points, or 0.27 per cent, higher at 4,886.7.

* The June share price index futures contract was up 20 points at 4,905 points, with 29,749 contracts traded.

* The spot price of gold in Sydney finished at $US1407.75 per fine ounce, up $US10.78 from Monday's closing price of $US1396.97 per ounce.

* National turnover was 1.57 billion securities worth $4.37 billion.