Australian Market Advances On Wall Street Lead

By RTT News, 
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(RTTNews.com) - The Australian stock market is trading modestly higher on Friday, with the overnight gains on Wall Street and steady iron ore prices aiding sentiment.

Financial, consumer staples, healthcare, property trusts and industrial stocks are trading higher, while energy and mining stocks are turning in a mixed performance.

The benchmark S&P/ASX 200 index is up 21.5 points or 0.4 percent at 5,501.4. The broader All Ordinaries index is at 5,477.9, up 19.8 points or 0.4 percent from its previous close.

Among bank stocks, ANZ Bank, Commonwealth Bank of Australia, National Australia Bank and Westpac (WBK) are up 0.5 to 1.2 percent. Bendigo & Adelaide Bank and Bank of Queensland are moving up 1 percent and 0.7 percent, respectively.

Among top miners, BHP Billiton (BHP) and Rio Tinto (RIO) are flat, while Fortescue Metals and Newcrest Mining are gaining 1.5 percent and 0.5 percent, respectively.

Treasury Wine Estates is moving up nearly 3.5 percent. Qantas Airways, Challenger and Mineral Resources are up 2 to 2.5 percent. Monadelphous Group, Crown Resorts, Downer EDI and Westfield Retail Trust are advancing by 1.3 to 1.7 percent.

Meanwhile, Regis Resources is plunging by over 10 percent. James Hardie Industries is down nearly 3 percent. Echo Entertainment Group, Coca-Cola Amatil, Woodside Petroleum, Aristocrat Leisure, Adelaide Brighton and Incitec Pivot are declining 1 to 2 percent.

In the currency market, the Australian dollar opened weak against the U.S. dollar. In early trades, the local unit was quoting at $0.9227, down 0.4 percent from Thursday's close of US$0.9265.

On Wall Street, stocks ended modestly higher on Thursday, with traders digesting a mixed batch of economic data, including a report from the Labor Department that showed initial jobless claims to have rebounded by more than expected in the week ended May 17.

The Dow inched up 10.0 points or 0.1 percent to 16,543.1 and the S&P 500 edged up 4.5 points or 0.2 percent to 1,892.5, while the Nasdaq closed up 22.8 points or 0.6 percent at 4,154.3.

Major European markets ended mixed on Thursday. While the U.K.'s FTSE 100 index closed just below the unchanged line, the French CAC 40 index and the German DAX index both rose by 0.2 percent.

U.S. crude oil snapped a four-day gain to end lower on Thursday, after some mixed economic data with initial claims for unemployment benefits in the U.S. climbing more than expected last week. Nonetheless, the losses were somewhat checked by some improved manufacturing activity data from the U.S. and China, as well on fears of supply disruption from Russia and delay in restarting Libya shipments.

Crude for July delivery ended down $0.33 or 0.3 percent at $103.74 a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange, after scaling a high of $104.22 a barrel intraday.

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