(RTTNews) - The Australian stock market is rising on Thursday following the record highs overnight on Wall Street on upbeat economic data and encouraging news on the coronavirus vaccine front. Investors now look ahead to U.S. Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell's speech at the Jackson Hole symposium later in the day.
The benchmark S&P/ASX 200 Index is advancing 27.20 points or 0.44 percent to 6,143.60, off a high of 6,145.50 earlier. The broader All Ordinaries Index is adding 32.10 points or 0.51 percent to 6,326.60. Australian stocks closed lower on Wednesday.
Among the major miners, Rio Tinto is advancing more than 1 percent, while BHP Group and Fortescue Metals are adding almost 1 percent each.
Gold miners are notably higher after gold prices rose to a one-week high overnight. Evolution Mining is higher by more than 3 percent and Newcrest Mining is rising almost 3 percent.
Meanwhile, oil stocks are weak after crude oil prices ended little changed overnight. Woodside Petroleum is losing more than 3 percent, Santos is lower by more than 1 percent and Oil Search is down 0.6 percent.
In the banking space, ANZ Banking, National Australia Bank and Westpac are lower in a range of 1.2 percent to 1.4 percent, while Commonwealth Bank is down 0.7 percent.
Woolworths Group reported a 1 percent decrease in full-year profit, while sales rose 8 percent. The supermarket giant's shares are rising more than 2 percent.
Afterpay reported a loss for the full year that narrowed from last year, while the number of active customer users more than doubled. The buy now pay later group's shares are advancing more than 1 percent.
On Wall Street, stocks rallied on Wednesday, reflecting optimism about the outlook for the economy after a report from the Commerce Department showed durable goods orders spiked by much more than expected in the month of July. Adding to the positive sentiment, biotechnology company Moderna announced promising results from a small trial of its coronavirus vaccine candidate in elderly patients. Moderna told a government advisory committee that its experimental vaccine produced neutralizing antibodies and appeared to be well tolerated.
While the Dow rose 83.48 points or 0.3 percent to a six-month closing high of 28,331.92, the Nasdaq surged up 198.59 points or 1.7 percent to 11,665.06 and the S&P 500 jumped 35.11 points or 1 percent to 3,478.73.
The major European markets also moved mostly higher on Wednesday. The German DAX Index jumped by 1 percent, the French CAC 40 Index advanced by 0.8 percent and the U.K.'s FTSE 100 Index inched up by 0.1 percent.
Crude oil futures ended roughly flat on Wednesday, with traders weighing the likely impact of Hurricane Laura and data showing another drop in U.S. crude inventories. WTI crude for October delivery inched up $0.04 to $43.39 a barrel.
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