By RTT News, February 21, 2013, 08:48:00 PM EDT
(RTTNews.com) - The Australian market is trading firm on Friday, with investors indulging in some strong buying across the board, shrugging off weak cues from the U.S. and European markets.
Financial, energy, healthcare, industrial, telecommunications and consumer discretionary stocks are mostly up with strong gains.
The benchmark S&P/ASX 200 index, which rose to 5,055.3, is currently up 58.1 points or 1.2 percent at 5,038.2. The broader All Ordinaries index is up 55.8 points or 1.1 percent at 5,054.4, off the day's high of 5,070.2.
Among bank stocks, Westpac (WBK) is up 2.5 percent, National Australia Bank is adding 2.3 percent and Commonwealth Bank of Australia is up 2.2 percent, while ANZ Bank is up with a gain of 1.5 percent. Bank of Queensland is up 0.5 percent and Bendigo & Adelaide Bank is down marginally.
Among top miners, BHP Billiton (BHP) and Rio Tinto (RIO) are trading modestly lower, while Fortescue Metals and Newcrest Mining are up 0.3 percent and 0.5 percent, respectively.
In the energy sector, Woodside Petroleum, Oil Search, Origin Energy, Caltex Australia and Santos are trading higher by 0.7 to 1.2 percent. Santos reported a drop in full year net profit, but said it still expects to meet its production targets in 2013.
Adelaide Brighton is up nearly 6 percent. PanAust is trading higher by 5.8 percent. Monadelphous Group, Toll Holdings, Arrium, Echo Entertainment Group, Regis Resources, Sonic Healthcare, WorleyParsons and ASX are up 3 to 4 percent.
Aristocrat Leisure is trading nearly 3 percent up. Goodman Group, Myer Holdings and APA Group are up 2.3 to 2.8 percent.
Sims Metal Management is up more than 3.5 percent despite the company posting another first-half loss. The company, however, issued a positive outlook for the months ahead.
In the currency market, the Australian dollar opened weak and tumbled to a four-month low against the U.S. dollar. In early trades, the Aussie was quoting at US$1.021, down from Thursday's close of US$1.0235.
On Wall Street, stocks ended mostly lower on Thursday, despite a late-recovery attempt. Concerns about the outlook for monetary stimulus from the Federal Reserve weighed on stocks along with disappointing reports on weekly jobless claims and Philadelphia manufacturing activity.
The Dow dipped 46.9 points or 0.3 percent to 13,880.6, the Nasdaq declined 32.9 points or 1 percent to 3,131.5 and the S&P 500 slid 9.5 points or 0.6 percent to 1,502.4.
Major European markets too closed weak on Thursday. While the U.K.'s FTSE 100 index tumbled by 1.6 percent, the German DAX index and the French CAC 40 index plunged by 1.9 percent and 2.3 percent, respectively.
U.S. crude oil declined Thursday on weak economic data and on worries about a likely end to US stimulus measures. Crude for April delivery ended down $2.38 or 2.5 percent at $92.84 a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange.
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