Australian Market Little Changed

(RTTNews) - The Australian stock market is little changed on Thursday after opening higher following the positive lead overnight from Wall Street on upbeat coronavirus vaccine news and better than expected quarterly results from financial services giant Goldman Sachs. Gains by banks and oil stocks were offset by weakness in mining stocks.

Investors turned cautious ahead of the release of Australia's unemployement data for June due later in the day.

The benchmark S&P/ASX 200 Index is edging up 0.10 points to 6,053.00, after rising to a high of 6,078.00 earlier. The broader All Ordinaries Index is adding 0.30 points to 6,160.70. Australian stocks closed notably higher on Wednesday.

In the oil sector, Oil Search is gaining more than 3 percent and Santos is adding 0.4 percent, while Woodside Petroleum is lower by more than 2 percent after crude oil prices rose overnight.

Among the big four banks, National Australia Bank, ANZ Banking, Westpac and Commonwealth Bank are higher in a range of 0.6 percent to 1.0 percent.

Among the major miners, Rio Tinto is lower by almost 2 percent and BHP Group is declining almost 1 percent, while Fortescue Metals is rising more than 3 percent.

Gold miners are lower even as gold prices edged higher overnight. Newcrest Mining is lower by 0.5 percent and Evolution Mining is down 0.3 percent.

Michael Hill reported a 4.1 percent decrease in fourth-quarter sales and said it has closed seven stores in Victoria due to a six-week lockdown. The jewelry group's shares are gaining more than 8 percent.

Spanish energy company Iberdrola has made its A$864 million takeover bid for wind farm operator Infigen Energy unconditional in order to sweeten the offer for Infigen's shareholders. Shares of Infigen are lower by almost 1 percent.

On the economic front, Australia will see June figures for unemployment today.

In the currency market, the Australian dollar is almost unchanged against the U.S. dollar on Thursday. The local unit was quoted at $0.6999, compared to $0.7002 on Wednesday.

On Wall Street, stocks closed higher on Wednesday as upbeat news on the coronavirus vaccine front helped traders shrug off news of a record single-day spike in new COVID-19 cases in the U.S. Adding to the positive sentiment, financial giant Goldman Sachs reported much stronger than expected second-quarter results. Traders also reacted positively to a report from the Federal Reserve showing U.S. industrial production spiked by even more than anticipated in the month of June.

The Dow advanced 227.51 points or 0.9 percent to 26,870.10, the Nasdaq rose 61.92 points or 0.6 percent to 10,550.49 and the S&P 500 climbed 29.04 points or 0.9 percent to 3,226.56.

The major European markets also showed strong moves to the upside on Wednesday. While the French CAC 40 Index soared by 2 percent, the U.K.'s FTSE 100 Index and the German DAX Index both surged up by 1.8 percent.

Crude oil futures ended notably higher on Wednesday after official data showed a marked decline in U.S. crude inventories in the week ended July 10. WTI crude oil for August delivery jumped $0.91 or about 2.3 percent to $41.20 a barrel, the highest settlement since March 6.

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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