Australian Market Rises

(RTTNews) - The Australian stock market is rising on Thursday, with stocks higher across the board despite the weak cues overnight from Wall Street amid fading hopes of U.S. fiscal stimulus before next month's presidential election.

Hopes of additional monetary easing by the Reserve Bank of Australia boosted sentiment. Investors also cheered data that showed a smaller than expected increase in Australia's unemployment rate in September.

The benchmark S&P/ASX 200 Index is advancing 48.10 points or 0.78 percent to 6,227.30, after touching a high of 6,231.50 earlier. The broader All Ordinaries Index is adding 45.70 points or 0.72 percent to 6,433.10. Australian stocks edged lower on Wednesday after seven straight days of gains.

Among the major miners, BHP Group is rising almost 3 percent, Fortescue Metals is higher by 2 percent and Rio Tinto is advancing almost 2 percent.

Gold miners are also higher after gold prices rose overnight. Newcrest Mining is adding 0.7 percent and Evolution Mining is edging up 0.1 percent.

In the banking space, ANZ Banking, National Australia Bank and Westpac are higher in a range of 1 percent to 1.4 percent, while Commonwealth Bank is adding 0.6 percent.

Oil stocks are advancing after crude oil prices extended gains overnight. Santos is higher by more than 2 percent, Oil Search is adding almost 2 percent and Woodside Petroleum is adding more than 1 percent.

In economic news, the Australian Bureau of Statistics said that the unemployment rate in Australia came in at a seasonally adjusted 6.9 percent in September. That compared to expectations for 7.1 percent and was up from 6.8 percent in August.

The Australian economy shed 29,500 jobs last month - versus forecasts for a loss of 35,000 jobs following the addition of 111,000 in the previous month.

On Wall Street, stocks closed lower on Wednesday as comments from Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin offset recent optimism about a new stimulus bill. In remarks to the Milken Institute Global Conference, Mnuchin said getting something done on a new stimulus bill before the election "would be difficult." Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell has also cast doubts about whether a bill can pass before the election and recently announced plans to vote on a more limited relief package.

The Dow dropped 165.81 points or 0.6 percent to 28,514.00, the Nasdaq slid 95.17 points or 0.8 percent to 11,768.73 and the S&P 500 fell 23.26 points or 0.7 percent to 3,488.67.

The major European markets finished mixed on Wednesday. While the German DAX Index crept up by 0.1 percent, the French CAC 40 Index edged down by 0.1 percent and the U.K.'s FTSE 100 Index slid by 0.6 percent.

Crude oil prices moved higher on Wednesday despite concerns about the energy demand outlook amid a continued surge in coronavirus cases and fresh lockdown restrictions in several places across the world. WTI crude futures for November ended up $0.84 or about 2.1 percent at $41.04 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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