Despite a weak lead from Wall Street, the Australian stock market is trading higher on Monday with investors indulging in some bargain hunting after recent sharp losses.
Financial, mining and healthcare stocks are moving higher, while stocks from consumer discretionary, energy and industrial sectors are trading mixed.
The benchmark S&P/ASX 200 index, which rose to 4,088.7, is currently trading at 4,069.4, up 22.9 points or 0.6 percent from its previous close. The broader All Ordinaries index is up 17.6 points or 0.4 percent at 4,116.4, more than 20 points off an early high of 4,137.7.
Among bank stocks, ANZ Bank, Commonwealth Bank of Australia, National Australia Bank and Westpac are trading higher by 1 to 1.8 percent. Bendigo & Adelaide Bank and Bank of Queensland are up 1.2 percent and 2 percent, respectively.
Among miners, BHP Billiton is up 2.5 percent, Rio Tinto is gaining about 1.2 percent, Newcrest Mining is up nearly 2 percent and Fortescue Metals is trading higher by 0.4 percent.
In the energy sector, Oil Search and Santos are up with modest gains and Caltex Australia is up nearly a percent, while Origin Energy and Woodside Petroleum are trading flat.
Regis Resources and Iluka Resources are trading higher by 4 percent and 3.5 percent, respectively. Leighton Holdings, Graincorp, Perseus Mining and Bluescope Steel are up 1.5 to 2 percent.
Ramsay Healthcare, Westfield Retail Trust, CSL and Insurance Australia Group are also up with strong gains.
Beach Energy shares are down more than 3 percent. Computershare, Paladin Energy, Cochlear and Sims Metal Management are trading notably lower.
James Hardie Industries posted a significantly improved full-year profit due to a favorable ruling in a long-running tax dispute. James Hardie posted a net profit of A$613.16 million for the year to March 31, compared to loss of A$352.09 million in the previous corresponding period. The stock is trading nearly a percent up.
Elders Limited shares are up 2.5 percent on strong financial results. The company returned to profitability with a first half net profit of A$40.5 million, compared to net loss of A$14.6 million for the same period last year.
Among other markets in the Asia-Pacific region, Malaysia, Japan and South Korea are trading higher, while New Zealand is trading modestly lower.
On Wall Street, stocks ended lower on Friday amid lingering concerns about the financial situation in Europe. The major averages ended at their worst levels in four months.
While the Dow closed down 73.1 points or 0.6 percent at 12,369.4, the Nasdaq plunged 34.9 points or 1.2 percent to 2.778.8 and the S&P 500 slid 9.6 points or 0.7 percent to 1,295.2.
Major European markets too moved to the downside on Friday. While the U.K.'s FTSE index slid 1.3 percent, the German DAX index and the French CAC 40 index lost 0.6 percent and 0.1 percent, respectively.
U.S. crude oil futures extended losses to a sixth straight session on Friday, amid demand growth concerns and continued worries over the Greece crisis. Crude for June delivery dropped $1.08 or 1.2 percent to close at $91.48 a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange.
by RTT Staff Writer
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