The Australian stock market is trading higher on Thursday with investors indulging in some hectic buying across the board following a positive lead from Wall Street.
Energy stocks are mostly up with strong gains on the back of encouraging production forecasts and sales reports. Mining, consumer staples, healthcare and information technology stocks are trading higher. Stocks from the banking sector too are edging up.
The benchmark S&P/ASX 200 index, which advanced to 4,174.9, is currently trading at 4,167, up 43.4 points or 1.1 percent from its previous close. The broader All Ordinaries index is up 41.2 points or 1 percent at 4,197.6, slightly off the day's high of 4,205.3.
Among mining stocks, Rio Tinto is up 1.3 percent and BHP Billiton is gaining 2.2 percent, while Fortescue Metals and Newcrest Mining are trading higher by almost 2 percent.
In the energy sector, Woodside Petroleum and Santos are trading higher by 4.8 percent and 2.8 percent, respectively.
Woodside Petroleum increased its production target for 2012 to a range of 77 million to 88 million barrels of oil equivalent or mmboe, from its previous forecast of 73 to 81 mmboe, after seeing a 43 percent jump in the second quarter. In the June quarter, Woodside produced 20.1 mmboe, up from 14 mmboe in the first quarter.
Santos announced that its production rose 9 percent to 13 mmboe in the second quarter and revenues saw a jump of 18 percent from the prior corresponding period to A$739 million.
Oil Search is up 3 percent, Origin Energy is gaining about 1 percent and Caltex Australia is trading 0.8 percent up.
Among bank stocks, ANZ Bank, Commonwealth Bank of Australia, National Australia Bank and Westpac are up 0.5 to 0.8 percent. Bendigo & Adelaide Bank and Bank of Queensland are gaining 1 percent and 2 percent, respectively.
Paladin Energy, Beach Energy, Whitehaven Coal, Myer Holdings and CSL are trading higher by 2 to 3.5 percent.
James Hardie Industries, Tatts Group, Bluescope Steel, Incitec Pivot, Lynas Corporation, Sims Metal Management, Woolworths and Westfield Retail Trust are also trading sharply higher.
Shares of Seven West Media are down more than 10 percent. The company raised A$340 million with the sale of new shares at A$1.32.
In the currency market, the Australian dollar was quoting at US$1.0364 in early trades, up from Wednesday's close of US$1.0312.
Among other markets in the Asia-Pacific region, South Korea and Japan are trading notably higher and New Zealand is up with modest gains, while Malaysia is up marginally. Markets across the region had turned in a mixed performance on Wednesday.
On Wall Street, stocks ended notably higher on Wednesday, thanks largely to a rally by tech stocks. The Dow rose 103.2 points or 0.8 percent to 12,908.7, the Nasdaq jumped 32.6 points or 1.1 percent to 2,942.6 and the S&P 500 climbed 9.1 points or 0.7 percent to 1,372.8.
Major European markets too ended on a firm note on Wednesday. The U.K.'s FTSE 100 index jumped by 1 percent, while the German DAX index and the French CAC 40 index gained 1.6 percent and 1.8 percent, respectively.
U.S. crude oil settled higher for a sixth straight day Wednesday, after an Energy Information Administration report showed oil stockpiles in the U.S. to have declined for a third consecutive week indicating a pick-up in demand for oil.
Crude for August delivery gained $0.65 or 0.7 percent to close at $89.87 a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange.
by RTT Staff Writer
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