(RTTNews.com) - The Australian stock market is extending gains on Thursday from the previous session, following the mostly positive cues overnight from Wall Street and reflecting the absence of any new developments in the U.S.-China trade spat.
In late-morning trades, the benchmark S&P/ASX 200 Index is adding 46.20 points or 0.75 percent to 6,218.80, off a high of 6,230.70. The broader All Ordinaries Index is up 44.60 points or 0.71 percent to 6,319.20. Australian shares rose sharply on Wednesday to reach a 10-year high.
Among the major miners, BHP Billiton is adding 0.6 percent and Rio Tinto is advancing almost 1 percent, while Fortescue Metals is declining 0.4 percent.
Atlas Iron's board has backed a takeover bid by billionaire Gina Rinehart after rival bidder Mineral Resources declined to respond with a superior offer. Shares of Atlas Iron are declining more than 2 percent.
Gold miner Evolution Mining is rising more than 1 percent and Newcrest Mining is adding 0.5 percent despite lower gold prices.
Oil stocks are also mostly higher after crude oil prices rose overnight. Oil Search is up 0.6 percent and Woodside Petroleum is adding 0.7 percent, while Santos is lower by 0.2 percent.
In the banking space, National Australia Bank, Commonwealth Bank and Westpac are higher in a range of 0.6 percent to 0.9 percent, while ANZ Banking is declining 0.2 percent.
BP Australia has backed out a deal with supermarkets giant Woolworths to buy its petrol business more than six months after the consumer watchdog rejected the A$1.8 billion deal. Shares of Woolworths are rising 0.5 percent.
Bellamy's Australia has signed a deal with global dairy giant Fonterra to help Tasmanian farmers switch to organic practices and will make an initial contribution of $5.5 million. Shares of Bellamy's are gaining more than 5 percent.
In the currency market, the Australian dollar continued to slide against the U.S. dollar on Thursday. The local unit was trading at US$0.7364, down from US$0.7399 on Wednesday.
On Wall Street, stocks closed mixed on Wednesday with the tech-heavy Nasdaq reaching a new record closing high, reflecting strength among media stocks after Disney raised its offer for most of Twenty-First Century Fox's media assets. On the other hand, notable declines by Travelers and McDonald's contributed to the modest loss posted by the Dow.
While the Dow edged down 42.41 points or 0.2 percent to 24,657.80, the Nasdaq climbed 55.93 points or 0.7 percent to 7,781.51 and the S&P 500 rose 4.73 points or 0.2 percent to 2,767.32.
The major European markets also turned in a mixed performance on Wednesday. While the French CAC 40 Index fell by 0.3 percent, the German DAX Index inched up by 0.1 percent and the U.K.'s FTSE 100 Index rose by 0.3 percent.
Crude oil futures rose in choppy trade Wednesday ahead of an OPEC meeting on Friday in Vienna. WTI crude gained 1.8 percent to $66.22 a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange.
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