Australian Market Extends Gains

( - The Australian stock market is extending gains on Friday from the previous session following a substantial late-stage rebound overnight by U.S. stocks in a volatile session. Banks, insurance and oil stocks are among the leading gainers, while property and industrials shares are lower after they went ex-dividend.

The benchmark S&P/ASX 200 Index is adding 34.20 points or 0.61 percent to 5,631.40, after touching a high of 5,590.70 earlier. The broader All Ordinaries Index is up 32.70 points or 0.58 percent to 5,694.80. Australian stocks closed almost 2 percent higher on Thursday.

The big four banks - National Australia Bank, Commonwealth Bank, Westpac and ANZ Banking - are higher in a range of 1.2 percent to 1.5 percent.

In the insurance sector, QBE is up 0.3 percent, Insurance Australia Group is adding almost 1 percent and Suncorp is higher by more than 1 percent.

Oil stocks are also higher despite a fall in crude oil prices overnight. Woodside Petroleum is up 0.2 percent, Oil Search is adding 0.4 percent and Santos is advancing more than 1 percent.

Among the major miners, Rio Tinto is adding 0.4 percent and BHP Group is edging up 0.1 percent, while Fortescue Metals is down 0.2 percent.

Rio Tinto said it does not expect to cut jobs in 2019 despite having deployed automated heavy-haul trains in Pilbara to cut costs.

Gold miners are weak despite gold prices rising for a third straight session overnight. Evolution Mining is down 0.3 percent and Newcrest Mining is losing almost 1 percent.

Shares of toll-road operator Transurban are adding almost 1 percent, recovering from earlier losses after going ex-dividend.

Meanwhile, shares of Vicinity Centres Re are down 0.6 percent, while Dexus Property Group is lower by 0.3 percent and Goodman Group is declining almost 1 precent, after they all went ex-dividend.

In the currency market, the Australian dollar is lower against the U.S. dollar on Friday. The local currency was quoted at $0.7033, down from $0.7055 on Thursday.

On Wall Street, stocks saw considerable weakness throughout much of the trading day on Thursday before staging a substantial recovery late in the session. Profit taking helped to drag stocks lower early in the day, while lingering concerns about the global economic outlook and the ongoing government shutdown also weighed on the markets.

After falling by more than 600 points, the Dow showed a substantial rebound before closing up 260.37 points or 1.1 percent at 23,138.82. The Nasdaq also rose 25.14 points or 0.4 percent to 6,579.49 and the S&P 500 advanced 21.13 points or 0.9 percent to 2,488.83.

The major European markets moved the downside on Thursday. While the German DAX Index plunged by 2.4 percent, the U.K.'sFTSE 100 Index tumbled by 1.5 percent and the French CAC 40 Index dropped by 0.6 percent.

Crude oil futures declined sharply on Thursday, a day after rebounding from near 18-month lows. WTI crude for February fell $1.61 or 3.5 percent to close at $44.61 a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange.

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