(Photo: REUTERS / Michael Caronna)
File photo of a man walking past a board displaying stock indexes around the world in Tokyo. Asian stock markets surged Wednesday, the first trading session of the year, as sentiment was buoyed after the U.S. House of Representatives passed a deal to avert the fiscal cliff.
Australia's benchmark S&P/ASX 200 inched 0.5 per cent at 0347 GMT at 4813.1, boosted by news from its major trading partner China which was reported to have yielded a growth in its purchasing managers index for the month of January.
According to HSBC's preliminary report, China's PMI for January jumped to 51.9 as against the 51.5 final reading in December. Corresponding to a 24-month high, an above 50 reading states an expansion in manufacturing activity, while below 50 indicates contraction.
Heralding the good news, stocks of Australian miners immediately felt a domino effect.
BHP Billiton jumped 0.3 per cent after reports of the Chinese PMI expansion came out. Newcrest Mining was up by 1.4 per cent, as well as Fortescue Metals Group by 0.2 per cent.
Australia's four big banks, including Westpac, Commonwealth Bank of Australia, Australia & New Zealand Banking Group and National Australia Bank, shot up between 0.6 per cent to 1.4 per cent. Telecommunications company Telstra likewise rose by 1 per cent.
The Chinese PMI data, according to Chris Weston, institutional trader at IG, was a welcome "shot in the arm" for the Australian market to push above a psychological barrier at 4800 points, The Wall Street Journal reported.
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