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Australian Market Up Marginally Amid Cautious Trades

The Australian stock market is trading marginally up in positive territory on Thursday with investors indulging in some selective buying despite a weak lead from Wall Street.

Consumer discretionary, energy, mining and industrial stocks are finding fairly good support, while financial and telecommunications stocks are mostly trading lower.

The benchmark S&P/ASX 200 index, which rose to 4,289.4, is currently trading at 4,280, up 4.9 points from its previous close. The broader All Ordinaries index is up 5.3 points at 4.337.5, off the day's high of 4,346.5.

Among miners, BHP Billiton, Rio Tinto and Fortescue Metals are up 0.5 to 1 percent, while Newcrest Mining is gaining as much as 3.5 percent.

In the energy sector, Woodside Petroleum, Oil Search and Origin Energy are up 1.4 to 2 percent, while Caltex Australia and Santos are trading higher by 0.6 percent and 0.9 percent, respectively.

Among bank stocks, ANZ Bank is down 0.5 percent, National Australia Bank is down with a loss of 0.5 percent and Westpac is trading 0.4 percent lower, while Commonwealth Bank of Australia is trading flat. Bendigo & Adelaide Bank and Bank of Queensland are down marginally.

National Australia Bank said its net profit for the six months to March 31 fell 15.5 percent to A$2.05 billion due to its underperforming operations in the U.K.

Perseus Mining shares are up nearly 7 percent. Alumina is gaining 5.7 percent. Onesteel, Iluka Resources, Regis Resources and Panaust are up 4 to 4.5 percent.

News Corporation shares are gaining 3.7 percent. The company has reported a 47 percent rise in third-quarter net profit to A$929.79 million, thanks to a number of one-off gains.

Downer EDI, Centro Retail Australia, QR National, David Jones, AMP, Toll Holdings, Campbell Brothers, Myer Holdings, Ramsay Healthcare and Brambles are trading higher by 2 to 3.5 percent.

Leighton Holdings announced that it has won gas and water infrastructure contracts worth A$800 million in Queensland. The stock is trading 0.5 percent up from its previous closing price.

In economic news on Thursday, the Australian Bureau of Statistics is due to release labour force figures for April.

On Wall Street, stocks ended notably lower on Wednesday despite staging a fairly strong comeback from the day's lows. Once again, uncertainty about the political situation in Europe weighed on the markets.

The Dow ended down 97 points or 0.8 percent at 12,853.1 and the Nasdaq drifted down 11.6 points or 0.4 percent to 2,934.7, while the S&P 500 slid 9.1 points or 0.7 percent to 1,354.6.

Major European markets turned in a mixed performance on Wednesday. While the German DAX index moved up by 0.5 percent, the French CAC 40 index and the U.K.'s FTSE 100 index lost 0.2 percent and 0.4 percent, respectively.

U.S. crude oil futures drifted lower for a sixth straight day on Wednesday with a strong dollar and concerns about the Eurozone economy contributing to the slide. Crude for June delivery dropped $0.20 or 0.2 percent to close at $96.81 a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange.

by RTTNews Staff Writer

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