The Australian stock market is trading firm on Thursday with investors picking up stocks, tracking cues from Wall Street where the major averages ended on a high note overnight amid some upbeat economic data.
Consumer staples, financial, energy and healthcare stocks are among the prominent gainers. Mining, industrial and information technology stocks are also mostly trading higher.
The benchmark S&P/ASX 200 index, which rose to 5,085.6 in early trades, is currently up 36.9 points or 0.7 percent at 5,073.5. The broader All Ordinaries index is up 36.2 points or 0.7 percent at 5089.3, off an early high of 5,100.6.
Treasury Wine Estates is trading higher by over 5.5 percent after reporting first-half net profit of A$52.3 million, up 30.8 percent from the prior corresponding period.
Woolworths is up 1.5 percent following an announcement from the company that its first-half net profit rose 19 percent to A$1.15 billion.
Aurora Oil & Gas is up 5 percent. Boral and James Hardie Industries are trading higher by around 3 percent. Iluka Resources, Alumina (AWC), News Corp., Westpac (WBK), Toll Holdings and Carsales.Com are up 2 to 2.4 percent.
Woodside Petroleum, Beach Energy, Flight Centre and Macquarie Group are also trading sharply higher.
Meanwhile, Perseus Mining, Insurance Australia Group, Oz Minerals and Regis Resources are trading weak, losing 2.5 to 4.4 percent. Spark Infrastructure Group shares are down 1.8 percent.
In economic news, overall private sector credit in Australia increased in January by 0.2 percent from December, the Reserve Bank of Australia reported Thursday. Total private sector credit had risen 0.4 percent on month in December.
For the year to January, overall credit rose 3.6 percent. The RBA said credit extended to housing-related customers was up 0.4 percent on month in January. The amount of credit extended to businesses was unchanged.
According to data released by the Australian Bureau of Statistics, total new capital expenditure in Australia was down a seasonally adjusted 1.2 percent at A$40.988 billion in the fourth quarter of 2012, compared to the previous three months. That missed forecasts for an increase of 1.0 percent following the 2.8 percent increase in the third quarter. On year, capex was up 10.0 percent.
The seasonally adjusted volume estimate for buildings and structures fell 0.6 percent on quarter in Q4 to A$25.783 billion. It was up 14.2 percent on year. The seasonally adjusted volume estimate for equipment, plant and machinery rose fell 2.3 percent to A$15.205 billion. It was up 3.5 percent on year.
In the currency market, the Australian dollar edged higher against the U.S. dollar and was quoting at US$1.0235 in early trades, up from Wednesday's close of US$1.0216.
On Wall Street, stocks ended notably higher on Wednesday, buoyed by some upbeat data on durables goods sales orders and pending homes sales.
The Dow surged up 175.2 points or 1.3 percent to 14,075.4, its best closing level in over five years. The Nasdaq climbed 32.6 points or 1 percent to 3,162.3 and the S&P 500 jumped 19.1 points or 1.3 percent to 1,516.
Major European markets too ended on a high note Wednesday. While the French CAC 40 index surged up by 1.9 percent, the German DAX index and the U.K.'s FTSE 100 index jumped 1 percent and 0.9 percent, respectively.
U.S. crude oil settled marginally higher on Wednesday on some upbeat macroeconomic data from the U.S. and Europe. Crude for April delivery ended up $0.13 or 0.1 percent at $92.76 a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange.
by RTT Staff Writer
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