The Australian stock market is trading modestly higher on Tuesday with investors indulging in some selective buying ahead of some crucial economic data.
Shares from energy, healthcare, property trusts and consumer discretionary sectors are finding good support, while financial, mining and information technology stocks are trading mixed.
The benchmark S&P/ASX 200 index, which rose to 4,327, is currently trading at 4,317, up 15.7 points or 0.4 percent from its previous close. The broader All Ordinaries index is up 16.4 points or 0.4 percent at 4,378.
Among bank stocks, ANZ Bank and National Australia Bank are down marginally and Commonwealth Bank of Australia is trading flat, while Westpac is up with a gain of about 0.6 percent. Bendigo & Adelaide Bank and Bank of Queensland are up with modest gains.
Among miners, BHP Billiton, Rio Tinto and Fortescue Metals are up 1 to 1.5 percent, while Newcrest Mining is down marginally.
In the energy sector, Woodside Petroleum, Santos, Oil Search and Origin Energy are up 0.5 to 1 percent, while Caltex Australia is up marginally.
Whitehaven Coal is up nearly 4 percent. Boart Longyear, Campbell Brothers, Paladin Energy, WorleyParsons and Panaust are trading higher by 2 to 3.3 percent.
Lynas Corporation, QR National, UGL, Macquarie Group, Goodman Group, Atlas Iron, News Corporation, Investa Office Fund, Spark Infrastructure, Cochlear and Suncorp Group are also trading notably higher.
Among prominent losers, Iluka Resources shares are down more than 8.5 percent. Boral is trading lower by over 2 percent.
In economic news, the federal government will deliver its 2012/2013 budget and the Australian Bureau of Statistics is due to release international trade in goods and services data for March.
The trade balance is expected to show a deficit of A$1.40 billion after showing a shortfall of A$480 million in February. Exports were worth A$24.42 billion in February, while imports came in at A$24.91 billion.
Among other markets in the Asia-Pacific region, Hong Kong, Japan, Singapore, New Zealand, South Korea and Taiwan are trading notably higher, while Malaysia is up marginally. Markets across the region ended lower on Monday.
On Wall Street, stocks struggled to find direction on Monday amid uncertainty about the situation in Europe following recent election results. The major averages ended the session mixed, with the Dow posting a modest loss.
While the Dow ended down 29.7 points or 0.2 percent at 13,008.5, the Nasdaq edged up 1.4 points or 0.1 percent to 2,957.8 and the S&P 500 crept up by 0.5 points or less than a tenth of a percent to 1,369.6.
Major European markets ended higher on Monday. The French CAC 40 index gained 1.7 percent, while the German DAX index edged up by 0.1 percent. The U.K. markets were closed for a holiday.
U.S. crude oil futures settled lower for a fourth straight day on Monday, as the dollar strengthened and commodities took a hit due to eurozone sovereign debt problems. Crude for June delivery ended down $0.55 or 0.6 percent at $97.94 a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange.
by RTT Staff Writer
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