Australian Market Advances

By RTT News, 
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( - After a weak start on the back of a negative lead from Wall Street, the Australian stock market is trading marginally higher on Friday with investors indulging in some buying in the energy, mining, healthcare and consumer staples sector. Financial, property trusts and information technology stocks are trading mixed.

The benchmark S&P/ASX 200 index, which declined to 5,244 in early trades, is currently up 10.6 points or 0.2 percent at 5,273.6. The broader All Ordinaries index is up 10 points or 0.2 percent at 5,285.5, well off an early low of 5,256.5.

Among bank stocks, ANZ Bank, National Australia Bank and Westpac (WBK) are down marginally, while Commonwealth Bank of Australia is trading slightly higher. Bendigo & Adelaide Bank is up 0.3 percent and Bank of Queensland is down 0.4 percent.

Among top miners, BHP Billiton (BHP) is up 0.5 percent, Rio Tinto (RIO) is trading higher by 1.3 percent and Fortescue Metals is up marginally, while Newcrest Mining is up more than 6.5 percent.

In the energy sector, Woodside Petroleum, Oil Search and Origin Energy are up 0.8 to 1.2 percent. Caltex Australia is trading marginally up, while Santos is trading nearly a percent down.

Oz Minerals, Orora, Beach Energy, Regis Resources, Amcor, Brambles, Transurban Group and James Hardie Industries are up 1 to 3.2 percent.

ResMed Inc. ( RMD ) is trading more than 5 percent down. Crown Resorts, David Jones, Aristocrat Leisure, Myer Holdings, Harvey Norman Holdings and Carsales.Com are down 1.5 to 3 percent.

Shares of Aurizon Holdings are down 0.6 percent. The freight operator announced that it moved 56.2 million tonnes during the December quarter, marking an 11 percent increase compared with the corresponding period in 2012 and a new record. Iron ore volumes rose to 7.8 million tonnes during the final quarter of 2013, an increase of 30 percent on the equivalent period a year earlier.

In the currency market, the Australian dollar was quoting at US$0.8758 in early trades, as compared to Thursday's close of US$0.8803.

On Wall Street, stocks ended sharply lower on Thursday, with weak existing home sales data and a slowdown in Chinese manufacturing activity hurting sentiment.

The major averages climbed well off their worst levels in afternoon trading but still closed firmly in the red. The Dow tumbled 176 points or 1.1 percent to 16,197.3, the Nasdaq slid 24.1 points or 0.6 percent to 4,218.9 and the S&P 500 dropped 16.4 points or 0.9 percent to 1,828.5.

Major European markets too closed notably lower on Thursday. While the French CAC 40 index dropped by 1 percent, the German DAX index and the U.K.'s FTSE 100 index lost 0.9 percent and 0.8 percent, respectively.

U.S. crude oil moved up for a fourth straight session to end at a three-week high on Thursday, after data from the official U.S. Energy Information Administration showed distillate stockpiles to have declined more than expected last week, not withstanding a better than expected rise in crude and gasoline inventories.

Crude for March delivery gained $0.59 or 0.6 percent to close at $97.32 a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange.

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This article appears in: News Headlines

Referenced Stocks: JHX , RMD

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