By RTT News,
December 19, 2013, 08:47:00 PM EDT
(RTTNews.com) - The Australian stock market is trading firm on Friday with investors picking up stocks, shrugging off a flat lead from Wall Street.
Bargain hunting after recent losses is lifting stocks from consumer discretionary, energy and financial sectors. Healthcare, industrial and property trusts stocks are also trading firm, while mining stocks are mostly flat.
The benchmark S&P/ASX 200 index is trading at 5,249.9, up 47.7 points or 0.9 percent from its previous close. The broader All Ordinaries index is up 44.1 points or 0.8 percent at 5,246.1.
In the banking space, ANZ Bank and Commonwealth Bank of Australia are up 1.2 percent and 1.3 percent, respectively. National Australia Bank and Westpac are trading higher by 0.6 percent and 0.8 percent, respectively. Bank of Queensland is advancing 1.3 percent, while Bank of Queensland is up marginally.
Among top miners, BHP Billiton (BHP) is up 0.5 percent, while Rio Tinto (RIO) is down marginally.
Among energy stocks, Woodside Petroleum, Santos, Oil Search and Origin Energy are up 1.3 to 2 percent, while Caltex Australia is trading weak, losing about 0.6 percent.
QBE Insurance Group, Brambles, Oz Minerals, Henderson Group and WorleyParsons are trading higher by 3 to 3.6 percent.
Qantas Airways is up nearly 3 percent. Harvey Norman Holdings, Whitehaven Coal and Mineral Resources, are up more than 2.5 percent. Crown Resorts, Twenty-First Century Fox, Incitec Pivot, Iluka Resources, Orica and PanAust are also up sharply.
Meanwhile, Recall Holdings, Regis Resources and Newcrest Mining are trading sharply lower, losing 3.5 to 4.3 percent.
In the currency market, the Australian dollar opened slightly higher against the U.S. dollar. In early trades, the local unit was quoting at US$0.8856, up marginally from Thursday's close of US$0.8847.
On Wall Street, stocks closed roughly flat on Thursday after turning in a lackluster performance, with traders refraining from making significant moves after the previous session's sharp upmove. A batch of disappointing economic data too weighed on the market to an extent.
The major averages eventually ended the day mixed, with the Dow posting a modest gain. The Dow inched up 11.1 points or 0.1 percent to 16,179.1, while the Nasdaq dipped 11.9 points or 0.3 percent to 4,058.1 and the S&P 500 edged down 1.1 points or 0.1 percent to 1,809.6.
Major European markets ended higher on Thursday. While the U.K.'s FTSE 100 index surged up by 1.4 percent, the French CAC 40 index and the German DAX index soared by 1.6 percent and 1.7 percent, respectively.
U.S. crude oil ended higher on Thursday, on improved demand outlook and after the U.S. Federal Reserve decided to slash its monthly bond-buying program by $10 billion, following its two-day policy review meet on Wednesday.
Crude for February delivery, the most actively traded contract, gained $0.98 or 1.0 percent to close at $99.04 a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange.
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