(RTTNews.com) - The Australian stock market is edging higher on Friday, the last trading day of the financial year, following the overnight gains on Wall Street amid worries about U.S. trade policy. Gains by mining stocks were offset by weakness in oil stocks.
In late-morning trades, the benchmark S&P/ASX 200 Index is adding 2.70 points or 0.04 percent to 6,218.10, after rising to a high of 6,232.60 earlier. The broader All Ordinaries Index is up 4.50 points or 0.07 percent to 6,310.30.
The major miners are mostly higher. BHP Billiton is adding 0.6 percent and Rio Tinto is rising 0.5 percent, while Fortescue Metals is declining almost 2 percent.
BHP Billiton has agreed to pay $158 million in remediation and compensation to the Brazilian non-profit foundation it set up in response to the 2015 Samarco mine dam collapse.
Atlas Iron's board has unanimously backed Gina Rinehart'sA$390 million takeover bid for the company. The miner's shares are unchanged.
Gold miners are edging higher despite gold prices losing for a fourth straight session overnight. Evolution Mining is up 0.3 percent and Newcrest Mining is adding 0.2 percent.
Banking stocks are also mostly higher. ANZ Banking is edging down less than 0.1 percent, while National Australia Bank, Commonwealth Bank and Westpac are higher in a range of 0.1 percent to 0.7 percent.
In the oil sector, Woodside Petroleum is down 0.4 percent, Oil Search is declining 0.3 percent and Santos is lower by more than 1 percent despite crude oil prices rising to a three-and-a-half year high.
In the currency market, the Australian dollar rose against the U.S. dollar on Friday. The local unit was trading at US$0.7355, up from US$0.7333 on Thursday.
On Wall Street, stocks rebounded to close higher on Thursday partly reflecting bargain hunting, with the Dow bouncing off its lowest intraday level in almost two months. The early weakness reflected lingering concerns about the global economic impact of the ongoing trade dispute between the U.S. and other major economies.
The Dow rose 98.46 points or 0.4 percent to 24,216.05, the Nasdaq advanced 58.60 points or 0.8 percent to 7,503.68 and the S&P 500 climbed 16.68 points or 0.6 percent to 2,716.31.
The major European markets moved to the downside on Thursday. While the U.K.'s FTSE 100 Index edged down by 0.1 percent, the French CAC 40 Index tumbled by 1 percent and the German DAX Index plunged by 1.4 percent.
Crude oil futures continued to surge Thursday, rising to a three-and-a-half-year high amid a sudden plunge in US oil inventories. WTI crude added $0.69 or 0.95 percent to $73.45 a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange.
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