Markets

Australian Market Advances

(RTTNews) - The Australian stock market is advancing on Friday following the overnight gains on Wall Street after two days of significant losses amid optimism that the U.S. Federal Reserve will cut interest rates later in October.

The benchmark S&P/ASX 200 Index is adding 24.70 points or 0.38 percent to 6,517.70, after falling to a high of 6,518.80 earlier. The broader All Ordinaries Index is rising 25.10 points or 0.38 percent to 6,636.80. Australian stocks closed notably lower on Thursday.

The major miners are higher. Fortescue Metals is rising more than 1 percent, while BHP Billiton and Rio Tinto are adding almost 1 percent each.

Oil stocks are also higher despite crude oil prices extending losses overnight to an eight straight session. Oil Search and Woodside Petroleum are advancing almost 1 percent each, while Santos is adding 0.2 percent.

The big four banks are modestly higher. ANZ Banking is rising 0.2 percent, while Commonwealth Bank, Westpac and National Australia Bank are all edging up 0.1 percent each.

The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission or ACCC is reportedly pushing ahead with a planned inquiry that will look at the barriers to entry for new players to compete with the big four banks.

Gold miners Newcrest Mining and Evolution Mining are declining almost 1 percent each even after gold prices rose overnight.

In economic news, Australia is scheduled to release August numbers for retail sales today.

In the currency market, the Australian dollar is higher against the U.S. dollar on Friday. The local currency was quoted at $0.6750, up from $0.6705 on Thursday.

On Wall Street, stocks closed higher on Thursday, partly due to bargain hunting. Confidence the Federal Reserve will continue to cut interest rates also contributed to the turnaround, as traders digested a report from the Institute for Supply Management showing U.S. service growth slowed by more than expected in the month of September.

While the Nasdaq surged up 87.02 points or 1.1 percent to 7,872.26, the S&P 500 advanced 23.02 points or 0.8 percent to 2,910.63 and the Dow rose 122.42 points or 0.5 percent to 26,201.04.

The major European markets turned in a mixed performance on Thursday, as the German markets were closed for a holiday. While the U.K.'s FTSE 100 Index fell by 0.6 percent, the French CAC 40 Index rose by 0.3 percent.

Crude oil futures settled lower on Thursday, extending losses to an eighth straight session amid rising possibilities of a drop in near term energy demand. Crude for November delivery slipped $0.19 to $52.45 a barrel.

The views and opinions expressed herein are the views and opinions of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Nasdaq, Inc.