Australian stock market beats Asia-Pacific peers

SYDNEY • Australia’s stocks finally got a chance to outperform most of their Asia-Pacific peers, but few were around to appreciate it.

The S&P/ASX 200 Index rose as much as 1.2% yesterday as China’s official factory gauge climbed to a five-year high, signalling robust growth in Australia’s largest trading partner.

The gauge closed 0.8% higher, the most in two months. The MSCI Asia Pacific Index was little changed and Japan’s stock gauges were mixed.

Australia’s main stock measure closed for the day, while the Philippines, Singapore and Thailand bench- marks are slowly gaining ground.

Volume on the Australian bench- mark was about 39% below the 30-day average. Regional competition was thin as well, with exchanges closed for holidays in Hong Kong, China, India and South Korea.

The most notable Aussie mover was Beach Energy Ltd, which rose as much as 21%, the most in 17 years.

Despite yesterday’s rise, Australia’s benchmark index is still the world’s second-worst performing developed market this year, hurt by a series of banking scandals and a local earnings season that failed to garner bullish sentiment. — Bloomberg