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Australian Market Advances

The Australian stock market is trading higher on Tuesday with the overnight positive close on Wall Street and firm commodity prices prompting investors to indulge in some strong buying at several counters. The mood, however, is slightly cautious ahead of the central bank's interest rate decision.

Mining, energy, financial and consumer discretionary stocks are trading firm, while healthcare, consumer staples and industrial stocks are trading mixed.

The benchmark S&P/ASX 200 index is up 22.5 points or 0.5 percent at 4,351.8. The broader All Ordinaries index is trading at 4,437.7, up 21.3 points or 0.5 percent from its previous close.

Among bank stocks, ANZ Bank, Commonwealth Bank of Australia, National Australia Bank and Westpac are up 0.3 to 0.6 percent. Bendigo & Adelaide Bank and Bank of Queensland are up marginally.

Among top miners, BHP Billiton is up 0.5 percent, Rio Tinto is trading higher by 1.2 percent, Fortescue Metals is up with a gain of 0.8 percent and Newcrest Mining is up marginally.

In the energy sector, Caltex Australia is up 1.5 percent, Santos is up 0.5 percent, Oil Search is up 0.6 percent and Origin Energy is up marginally. Woodside Petroleum is trading weak, losing 0.4 percent.

Tabcorp Holdings is trading higher by over 3 percent. Crown, Boart Longyear, Challenger, Amcor and Cochlear are up 1.5 to 3 percent.

Oz Minerals, QBE Insurance Group, Telstra Corporation, News Corporation, WorleyParsons, Orica and AMP are also trading notably higher.

Metcash Limited shares are down more than 4 percent. The company announced that it will shed 478 jobs as it restructures its business in response to difficult trading conditions. The company said it will merge several of its operations into one business to end duplication and improve efficiency.

Primary Healthcare is trading lower by over 2 percent. Boral, UGL, Sonic Healthcare and CSR are also trading notably lower.

On the economic front, the Reserve Bank of Australia will announce its decision on interest rates later in the day. The central bank is widely expected to keep rates on hold at 4.25 percent.

On Wall Street, stocks rebounded after an early setback and closed on a firm note on Monday as traders reacted positively to the latest U.S. manufacturing data.

The major averages gave back some ground going into the close but held on to notable gains. The Dow rose 52.5 points or 0.4 percent to 13,264.5, the Nasdaq advanced 28.1 points or 0.9 percent to 3,119.7 and the S&P 500 climbed 10.4 points or 0.7 percent to 1,418.9.

Major European markets moved higher on Monday. While the U.K.'s FTSE 100 index jumped 1.9 percent, the German DAX index and the French CAC 40 index gained 1.6 percent and 1.1 percent, respectively.

U.S. crude oil futures rallied to close higher on Monday, on some positive U.S. economic data on manufacturing sector activity. Crude for May delivery gained $2.21 or 2.2 percent to close at $105.23 a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange.

by RTTNews Staff Writer

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