The Australian stock market is trading higher on Thursday with investors tracking cues from Wall Street where stocks posted solid gains overnight amid a slew of encouraging economic data.
Financial, mining, consumer discretionary stocks are trading firm. Industrial and healthcare stocks are also mostly trading higher, while energy and information technology stocks are trading mixed.
The benchmark S&P/ASX 200 index is currently up 26.80 points or 0.6 percent at 4,070. The broader All Ordinaries index is trading at 4,111, up 27 points or 0.6 percent from its previous close.
News Corporation, James Hardie Industries and Iluka Resources are trading higher by 3 to 3.5 percent.
Westfield Retail Trust, Sims Metal Management, Aurora Oil & Gas, Goodman Group and Monadelphous Group are trading higher by 2 to 3 percent. Campbell Brothers, Atlas Iron, Incitec Pivot and Tabcorp Holdings are also trading notably higher.
Santos is trading lower by about 4.5 percent. Bluescope Steel and Fairfax Media are down more than 3.5 percent, while Paladin Energy is down with a loss of 1.6 percent.
Caltex Australia expects its first-half profit to rise by up to 81 percent percent due to higher refinery production. The company has announced that its net profit for the six months to June 30, on a replacement cost basis, is likely to be between A$185 million and A$205 million, up from A$113 million in the previous first half. Caltex Australia shares are currently up more than 3 percent.
Grocery wholesaler Metcash's full-year profit has dropped by 63 percent because of the cost of its major restructure. The company says its sales rose slightly in the year to April 30 and underlying profit grew by 2.5 percent to A$262.5 million.
Among other markets in the Asia-Pacific region, Hong Kong, Japan, Singapore, South Korea and Taiwan are trading notably higher. New Zealand is up marginally, while Malaysia is trading slightly weak. Markets across the region ended higher on Wednesday.
On Wall Street, stocks ended higher on Wednesday, as traders reacted positively to a batch of relatively upbeat U.S. economic data. Much of the strength on Wall Street stemmed from the release of separate reports showing bigger than expected increases in durable goods orders and pending home sales.
The major averages ended the day firmly in positive territory, not far off their highs for the session. The Dow rose 92.3 points or 0.7 percent to 12,627, the Nasdaq climbed 21.3 points or 0.7 percent to 2,875.3 and the S&P 500 advanced 11.9 points or 0.9 percent to 1,331.9.
Major European markets too ended on a buoyant note on Wednesday. The U.K.'s FTSE 100 index jumped 1.4 percent, while the German DAX index and the French CAC 40 index soared 1.5 percent and 1.7 percent, respectively.
U.S. crude oil futures ended higher on Wednesday, on some positive economic data and an Energy Information Administration report that showed U.S. oil stockpiles to have declined, although lesser than expected.
Crude for August delivery gained $0.85 or 1.1 percent to close at $80.21 a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange.
by RTT Staff Writer
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