The Australian market is trading notably higher on Friday with investors indulging in some hectic buying across the board, tracking a positive lead from Wall Street, where stocks posted strong gains overnight on encouraging trade data. The market has finished higher yesterday on hopes of continuation of U.S. earnings momentum and a strong domestic jobs report.
A slew of Chinese data, including GDP, due to be released a short while from now may have some impact on trading. The Chinese first quarter GDP is set to slow to 8.4 percent, as export growth and domestic demand slackens
Mining, energy and industrial stocks are mostly up with impressive gains. Financial and healthcare stocks are also moving higher.
The benchmark S&P/ASX 200 index is up 47.1 points or 1.1 percent at 4,328. The broader All Ordinaries index is trading at 4,409, up 46.8 points or 1.1 percent from its previous close.
Among top miners, Rio Tinto is up nearly 3 percent, BHP Billiton is gaining 2 percent, Fortescue Metals is up with a gain of 2.3 percent and Newcrest Mining is adding 1.2 percent.
In the energy sector, Woodside Petroleum, Santos, Oil Search and Origin Energy are up 1 to 1.3 percent, while Caltex Australia is trading up 0.8 percent.
Among bank stocks, ANZ Bank, Commonwealth Bank of Australia, National Australia Bank and Wespac are up 0.5 to 1 percent. Bendigo & Adelaide Bank is gaining 0.7 percent and Bank of Queensland is trading higher by 1.3 percent.
PanAust, extending recent gains, is trading stronger by nearly 5.5%. Challenger, Boart Longyear, Monadelphous Group, James Hardie Industries and Paladin Energy are up 3 to 4 percent.
Fairfax Media, Beach Energy, Bluescope Steel, Primary Healthcare, Toll Holdings, Qantas Airways, Lynas Corporation, Downer EDI and Harvey Norman Holdings are all trading higher by over 2.5 percent.
Investa Office Fund, Dexus Property Group, Myer Holdings and Sonic Healthcare are also up sharply.
Among other markets in the Asia-Pacific region, Japan and South Korea are trading notably higher, while Malaysia and New Zealand are up marginally.
On Wall Street, stocks moved higher on Thursday with traders reacting positively to a report from the Commmerce Department that showed a narrower than expected U.S. trade deficit.
The major averages ended near their best levels of the day. The Dow jumped 181.2 points or 1.4 percent to 12,986.6, the Nasdaq moved up 39.1 points or 1.3 percent to 3,055.1 and the S&P 500 soared 18.9 points or 1.4 percent to 1,387.6.
Major European markets also ended on a firm note on Thursday. While the U.K.'s FTSE 100 index advanced by 1.3 percent, the French CAC 40 index and the German DAX index both moved up by 1 percent.
U.S. crude oil futures surged higher on Thursday amid hopes of further monetary stimulus for the economy and on strong equity markets. Light, sweet crude oil futures for May delivery gained $0.94 or 0.9 percent to close at $103.64 a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange.
by RTT Staff Writer
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