Australian Market Advances

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(RTTNews.com) - The Australian stock market is advancing on Monday following the fresh record highs on Wall Street Friday amid optimism about U.S. tax reform legislation as well as on higher commodity prices.

In late-morning trades, the benchmark S&P/ASX 200 Index is adding 38.50 points or 0.64 percent to 6,035.50, off a high of 6,040.90. The broader All Ordinaries Index is up 38.50 points or 0.63 percent to 6,125.60.

The major miners are advancing. Fortescue Metals is rising more than 2 percent, BHP Billiton is advancing more than 1 percent and Rio Tinto is higher by almost 1 percent.

BHP Billiton and Esso Australia Resources said they have ended their joint venture and will now separately market their respective share of gas produced under the JV following an investigation by the ACCC.

Gold miners are also higher. Newcrest Mining is rising 0.5 percent and Evolution Mining is adding 1 percent after gold prices edged higher on Friday.

In the banking space, National Australia Bank, Westpac and Commonwealth Bank are advancing in a range of 0.4 percent to 0.8 percent.

ANZ Banking has announced a buyback of A$1.5 billion of its shares following the sale of its 20 percent stake in Shanghai Rural Commercial bank for A$1.8 billion. The bank's shares are rising almost 2 percent.

Oil stocks are weak despite the increase in crude oil prices Friday. Oil Search is losing 1 percent, Santos is down almost 1 percent and Woodside Petroleum is lower by 0.6 percent.

U.S. technology giant Oracle has agreed to buy Australian construction software provider Aconex in a A$1.6 billion deal that is expected to be completed in the first half of 2018. Shares of Aconex are surging more than 44 percent.

India'sAdani Group said it has cancelled all contracts awarded to Downer EDI for the controversial Carmichael Coal mine project and will develop the mine on its own. Shares of Downer EDI are declining almost 1 percent.

On the economic front, Australia will see December results for the consumer confidence index from ANZ and November numbers for new motor vehicle sales.

In the currency market, the Australian dollar lost ground against the U.S. dollar, which strengthened on optimism about U.S. tax reforms. In early trades, the local unit was quoted at US$0.7648, down from US$0.7672 on Friday.

On Wall Street, stocks closed at new record closing highs on Friday as traders expressed optimism about Republican lawmakers passing tax reform legislation.

The Dow rose 143.08 points or 0.6 percent to 24,651.74, the Nasdaq spiked 80.06 points or 1.2 percent to 6,936.58 and the S&P 500 climbed 23.80 points or 0.9 percent to 2,675.81.

The major European markets turned in a mixed performance on Friday. While the French CAC 40 Index edged down by 0.2 percent, the German DAX Index rose by 0.3 percent and the U.K.'s FTSE 100 Index climbed by 0.6 percent.

Crude oil futures rose Friday, trimming modest weekly losses after a warning on the global oil glut. January WTI oil rose $0.26 or 0.5 percent to close at $57.30 a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange.

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This article appears in: Stocks , World Markets , Politics , Oil
Referenced Symbols: FSUGY ,

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