The Australian market is trading higher on Thursday, with investors picking up stocks, tracking cues from Wall Street where the major averages posted smart gains overnight amid expectations of a good reporting season following impressive results from Alcoa. The market had retreated in each of the past four sessions.
The Australian Bureau of Statistics is set to release its employment report a short while from now. Economists expect the nation to have added 6,500 jobs in March following a loss of 15,400 jobs in the previous month. Meanwhile, the unemployment rate is expected to tick up to 5.3 percent.
Energy, mining, industrial and healthcare stocks are trading mostly firm. Financial, consumer discretionary and property trusts stocks are trading mixed.
The benchmark S&P/ASX 200 index is currently trading at 4,261, up 14.9 points or 0.3 percent from its previous close. The broader All Ordinaries index is up 16.7 points or 0.4 percent at 4,344.
PanAust Limited shares are up nearly 5 percent after the company reaffirmed its 2012 production targets on exceeding its expectations at its flagship copper mine in the three months to March.
Boart Longyear, Paladin Energy, Beach Energy, Monadelphous Group and Whitehaven Coal are trading higher by 2 to 3 percent.
QBE Insurance Group, Santos, Challenger, Alumina, UGL, Fairfax Media, Mirvac Group, Onesteel, Cochlear, Qantas Airways and Lynas Corporation are also trading notably higher.
Ten Network Holdings shares are down more than 2.5 percent after the company reported a sharp plunge in its first half net profit that came in below market expectations amid tough advertising markets. The broadcaster said net profit for the six months to February 29, 2012, fell 70.1 percent to A$14.8 million, compared with the prior corresponding period.
Iluka Resources is down 1.5 percent after the company said its production and revenue fell in the first quarter of 2012. The company said changes to its mining operations, such as a shutdown for maintenance and a change of location, were responsible for lower production in the three months to the end of March.
On Wall Street, stocks surged higher on Wednesday with investors reacting positively to upbeat results from aluminum giant Alcoa. Despite closing well off their best levels of the day, the major averages posted fairly strong gains.
The Dow ended up 89.5 points or 0.7 percent to 12,805.4, the Nasdaq rose 25.2 points or 0.8 percent to 3,016.5 and the S&P 500 surged 10.1 points or 0.7 percent to 1,368.7.
Major European markets also closed on a firm note on Wednesday. While the German DAX index advanced by 1 percent, the U.K.'s FTSE 100 index and the French CAC 40 index gained 0.7 percent and 0.6 percent, respectively.
U.S. crude oil futures closed higher on Wednesday, notwithstanding a more-than-expected increase in U.S. oil stockpiles for the week ended April 6. A weak dollar and a rebound in U.S. and global equity markets contributed to oil's upmove. Light Sweet Crude Oil futures for May delivery, gained $1.68 or 1.7 percent to close at $102.70 a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange.
by RTT Staff Writer
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