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Australian Market Trades Higher; Banks, Miners Rally

3/18/2012 9:33 PM ET

The Australian stock market is trading notably higher on Monday with investors picking up stocks from across various sectors amid renewed optimism about the global economy.

Mining, financial, healthcare, industrial and information technology stocks are mostly trading higher. Energy and consumer discretionary stocks are also finding good support.

The benchmark S&P/ASX 200 index is up 28.7 points or 0.7 percent at 4,305. The broader All Ordinaries index is trading at 4,394, up 29.3 points or 0.7 percent over its previous close.

Among bank stocks, ANZ Bank, National Australia Bank and Westpac are up 1 to 1.2 percent and Commonwealth Bank of Australia is gaining about 0.3 percent. Bank of Queensland and Bendigo & Adelaide Bank are up 1.3 percent and 0.7 percent, respectively.

Miners BHP Billiton and Rio Tinto are trading stronger by 1.5 percent and 1.2 percent, respectively. Fortescue Metals is gaining about 3 percent, while Newcrest Mining is trading in negative territory with a loss of 0.6 percent.

In the energy sector, Santos, Oil Search and Origin Energy are up 0.7 to 1.3 percent. Caltex Australia is up nearly 2 percent, while Woodside Petroleum is down with a loss of 0.5 percent.

Aquarius Platinum is gaining as much as 7.5 percent. AGL Energy, Alumina, Oz Minerals and QBE Insurance Group are up 3 to 4 percent.

Downer EDI, Paladin Energy, Panaust and Myer Holdings are trading higher by 2.3 to 2.8 percent. Boart Longyear, Iluka Resources, Cochlear, CSL, Macquarie Group, Onesteel and Computershare are also up with strong gains.

Shares of Ten Network Holdings Ltd are up more than 2 percent on reports the company is planning to sell its outdoor advertising business.

In the currency market, the Australian dollar opened higher and was quoting at US$1.0591 in early trades, up 0.6 percent from Friday's close of US$1.0528.

Among other markets in the Asia-Pacific region, Malaysia, Japan, Singapore, Taiwan and South Korea are trading firm, while New Zealand is down marginally. Markets across the region turned in another lackluster performance on Friday.

On Wall Street, stocks ended flat on Friday after a choppy session. The major averages bounced back and forth across the unchanged line before finishing the session mixed.

While the S&P 500 crept up 1.6 points or 0.1 percent to 1,404.2, the Dow ended down 20.1 points or 0.2 percent at 13,232.6 and the Nasdaq edged down 1.1 points or less than a tenth of a percent to 3,055.26.

Major European markets moved higher on Friday. The German DAX index edged up by 0.2 percent, while the U.K.'s FTSE 100 index and the French CAC 40 index both ended the day up by 0.4 percent.

U.S. crude oil futures snapped a two-day losing streak and closed higher on Friday on a weak dollar and some mixed economic data amid concerns of inflation. Crude for April delivery gained $1.95 or 1.9 percent to close at $107.06 a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange.

by RTT Staff Writer

For comments and feedback: editorial@rttnews.com

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