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Australian Market Advances On Wall Street Lead

The Australian stock market is trading firm on Thursday with investors tracking a positive lead from Wall Street and indulging in some brisk buying in several front line stocks from across various sectors.

Financial, energy, mining and industrial stocks are trading firm. Several stocks from healthcare and information technology sectors are also up in positive territory, while consumer discrtionary stocks are trading weak.

The benchmark S&P/ASX 200 index, which rose to 4,393.8, is currently trading at 4,388.5, up 28.1 points or 0.6 percent from its previous close. The broader All Ordinaries index is up 26.3 points or 0.6 percent at 4,460.2.

Among bank stocks, ANZ Bank, Commonwealth Bank of Australia, National Australia Bank and Westpac are up 0.4 to 1 percent.

Among miners, BHP Billiton is up 0.6 percent, Rio Tinto is gaining about 1.2 percent and Fortescue Metals is up marginally. Newcrest Mining is down in negative territory, losing more than 2 percent.

In the energy sector, Santos is up 1.7 percent and Oil Search is adding 1.2 percent, while Woodside Petroleum, Origin Energy and Caltex Australia ae up with modest gains.

Onesteel is trading stronger by over 5 percent. Boart Longyear, Paladin Energy, Iluka Resources and Perseus Mining are up 2.5 to 3 percent.

Leighton Holdings is up 2.4 percent. Leighton has announced that its subsidiary Habtoor Leighton Group has been awarded a contract worth $169 million for a mine-related infrastructure project in Saudi Arabia.

Lynas Corporation, Toll Holdings, Incitec Pivot, BeachEnergy and Atlas Iron are trading higher by 2 to 2.4 percent. According to reports, Atlas Iron and QR National are looking at building a new railway that will link mines in Western Australia's Pilbara regioin to Port Hedland.

Graincorp, Resmed Inc, Spark Infrastructure and Computershare are also up with strong gains.

Seven West Media Limited shares are down nearly 15 percent following the company cutting its earnings forecast due to ongoing weakness in advertising markets.

Among other markets in the Asia-Pacific region, Shanghai, Japan and South Korea are trading notably higher. Malaysia and Singapore are up marginally, while New Zealand is trading slightly weak. Markets across the region turned in a mixed performance on Wednesday.

On Wall Street, stocks ended with notable gains on Wednesday with traders reacting positively to better than expected quarterly results from tech giant Apple Inc.

The Dow rose 89.2 points or 0.7 percent to 13,090.7, the Nasdaq surged up 68 points or 2.3 percent to 3,029.6 and the S&P 500 climbed 18.7 points or 1.4 percent to 1,390.7.

Major European markets too ended on a firm note on Wednesday. While the U.K.'s FTSE 100 index edged up by 0.2 percent, the German DAX index and the French CAC 40 index gained 1.7 percent and 2 percent, respectively.

U.S. crude oil futures settled higher on Wednesday, notwithstanding the jump in U.S. crude stockpiles for the week ended April 20 and the Federal Reserve indicating no major shift in its accommodative monetary policy.

Crude for June delivery gained $0.55 or 0.5 percent to close at $104.12 a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange.

by RTTNews Staff Writer

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