Australian Market Advances

(RTTNews) - The Australian stock market is advancing on Tuesday, tracking the overnight gains on Wall Street as positive news on the coronavirus vaccine front helped offset worries about the continuous spike in coronavirus cases. In addition, higher commodity prices boosted resources stocks.

The benchmark S&P/ASX 200 Index is adding 61.30 points or 1.02 percent to 6,062.90, while the broader All Ordinaries Index is up 63.60 points or 1.04 percent to 6,175.90. Australian stocks closed lower on Monday.

Among the major miners, BHP Group is down 0.2 percent, while Rio Tinto is edging up 0.1 percent and Fortescue Metals is advancing almost 1 percent.

BHP reported a 7 percent increase in fourth-quarter iron ore production from the year-ago period and said it expects its full-year 2021 iron-ore production on a 100 percent basis to be between 276 million tonnes and 286 million tonnes.

In the oil sector, Oil Search is rising more than 2 percent, Woodside Petroleum is adding almost 1 percent and Santos is up 0.6 percent after crude oil prices advanced overnight.

Santos said it will record non-cash impairment charges of up to A$800 million in its 2020 interim results following a coronavirus-induced slump in oil prices.

Oil Search reported a nearly 30 percent fall in second-quarter revenue from last year, reflecting a sharp decline in oil and gas prices.

Among the big four banks, ANZ Banking, National Australia Bank and Westpac are higher in a range of 0.3 percent to 0.8 percent, while Commonwealth Bank is advancing more than 1 percent.

Gold miners are also higher after gold prices rose overnight. Newcrest Mining is higher by more than 1 percent and Evolution Mining is adding 0.7 percent.

Queensland's work health and safety prosecutor has filed three charges against Dreamwork's parent company Ardent Leisure following the 2016 fatal Thunder River Rapids ride tragedy, with each charge carrying a maximum penalty of A$1.5 million. However, shares of Ardent Leisure are rising almost 3 percent. said its fourth-quarter profit surged 115 percent from last year. The online retailer's shares are declining almost 1 percent.

Downer EDI said it expects to report a full-year statutory net loss of A$150 million to A$160 million after recording charges worth A$386 million. The engineering and services provider also announced a A$400 million capital raising to bolster its balance sheet and buy the remaining shares in cleaning and catering firm Spotless. Downer EDI's shares are in a trading halt.

In economic news, the Reserve Bank of Australia will release the minutes from its monetary policy meeting on July 7. At the meeting, the RBA maintained its key interest rate at the record low 0.25 percent and also kept the target yield on three-year government bonds unchanged.

In the currency market, the Australian dollar is higher against the U.S. dollar on Tuesday. The local unit was quoted at $0.7029, compared to $0.6988 on Monday.

On Wall Street, stocks closed higher on Monday following positive results from trials of experimental COVID-19 vaccines by Oxford University and AstraZeneca, and Pfizer and BioNTech. The positive news on the vaccine front came as some states continue to see spikes in coronavirus cases, with Florida reporting 12,523 new cases on Saturday, reflecting the fifth consecutive day the state reported more than new 10,000 infections.

The Dow inched up just 8.92 points or less than a tenth of a percent to 26,680.87, while the tech-heavy Nasdaq soared 263.90 points or 2.5 percent to 10,767.09 and the S&P 500 climbed 27.11 points or 0.8 percent to 3,251.84.

The major European markets ended mixed on Monday. The U.K.'s FTSE 100 Index slid by 0.5 percent, while the French CAC 40 Index rose by 0.5 percent and the German DAX Index jumped by 1 percent.

Crude oil prices moved higher on Monday, as worries about energy demand outlook faded slightly on news about a potential coronavirus vaccine proving to be safe following an early-stage human trial. WTI crude for August rose $0.22 or about 0.5 percent to $40.81 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.


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