Aug 12 (Reuters) - Australian shares rose on Thursday,
buoyed by robust earnings by blue-chip companies, while sharp
jumps in banking and gold mining stocks also added to the gains.
The S&P/ASX 200 index rose 0.19% to 7,598.5 by 0046
GMT. The benchmark settled 0.3% higher at 7,584.6.
Gold stocks rose 1.26% as the precious metal jumped
overnight after tame U.S. consumer price data eased fears that
the Federal Reserve would taper its economic support sooner than
Gold miners Auteco Minerals Ltd and De Grey Mining
Ltd led gains, climbing 4.49% and 3.32%, respectively.
Bulk grain handler Graincorp was the top gainer on
the local bourse, surging 13.4% after it upgraded its earnings
forecasts for the year for the second time since May.
Among financial stocks, QBE Insurance Group Ltd
led gains, up 6.74%, followed by Insurance Australia
Group Ltd, gaining 4.28%, pushing the sub-index 0.56%
National Australia Bank Ltd, the country's No. 3
lender, climbed as much as 1.2%, after it posted a 10.3% jump in
its third-quarter cash profit, as it was able to move funds set
aside for potential COVID-19 losses back into profit.
The nation's biggest telco Telstra jumped as much
as 2.6%, after announcing a A$1.35 billion ($994.68 million)
share buyback following a rise in its annual profit.
Australian wealth manager AMP Ltd climbed as much
as 2.8% after posting a 57% rise in underlying profit for the
year, even as the company decided to hold back interim dividend
Across the Tasman Sea, New Zealand's benchmark S&P/NZX 50
index fell 0.09% to 12,737.
Elsewhere, Japan's Nikkei was up 0.47% at 28201.76,
while S&P 500 E-minis futures were down 0.02%.
($1 = 1.3572 Australian dollars)
(Reporting by Riya Sharma in Bengaluru; Editing by Rashmi Aich)