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Australian Market Trades Higher

3/18/2013 9:56 PM ET

The Australian stock market is trading notably higher on Tuesday with investors picking up stocks after the previous session's sharp setback.

Consumer discretionary, financial, mining and energy stocks are trading higher, while consumer staples and healthcare stocks are trading weak.

The benchmark S&P/ASX 200 index, which rose to 5,057.4, is currently trading at 5,038, up 22.6 points or 0.5 percent from its previous close. The broader All Ordinaries index is up 24.4 points or 0.5 percent at 5,051.8, off the day's high of 5069.8.

Arrium Limited shares are up nearly 7 percent and Alumina (AWC) is up more than 4 percent. Fortescue Metals, Dexus Property Group, Bank of Queensland and Lynas Corp. are up 3 to 3.4 percent.

Adelaide Brighton, CFS Retail Property Trust, Toll Holdings and Bendigo & Adelaide Bank are all trading higher by over 2.5 percent. Perseus Mining, Newcrest Mining, ALS, Aurora Oil & Gas, UGL, Beach Energy, Leighton Holdings, Atlas Iron and Monadelphous Group are up 2 to 2.4 percent.

According to the minutes of its March 5 board meeting, the Reserve Bank of Australia feels low interest rates are providing a boost to under-performing parts of the economy, but concedes further rate cuts may still be needed.

"Interest rate sensitive parts of the economy continued to show signs of responding to these low rates and it was likely that this still had further to run," the RBA said in the minutes, released on Tuesday.

The RBA said gross domestic product growth was likely to remain a little below its long-term trend in 2013 but would pick up after that, with signs that investment away from the mining sector would continue to improve.

It also said a further moderation in wages growth would help keep inflation around the middle of the RBA's two to three per cent target range.

In the currency market, the Australian dollar opened higher against the U.S. dollar. In early trades, the Aussie was quoting at US$1.0398 in early trades, up from Monday's close of US$1.0360.

Among other markets in the Asia-Pacific region, Japan is trading sharply higher. New Zealand, Singapore, South Korea and Taiwan are up with modest gains, while Malaysia is trading flat.

On Wall Street, stocks ended mostly lower on Monday despite staging a recovery of sorts after an early setback following a negative reaction to news out of Cyprus.

The major averages closed in negative territory but were still well off their worst levels of the day. The Dow ended down 62 points or 0.4 percent at 14,452.1, the Nasdaq declined 11.5 points or 0.4 percent to 3,237.6 and the S&P 500 slid 8.6 points or 0.6 percent to 1,552.1.

Major European markets too closed lower on Monday. While the German DAX index lost 0.4 percent, the U.K.'s FTSE 100 index and the French CAC 40 index both ended lower by 0.5 percent.

U.S. crude oil rebounded in a late rally to end higher for a third straight session on Monday, after having dipped below $92 a barrel earlier in the day over developments in Cyprus where the government plans to vote on a controversial deposit tax as part of a bailout agreement with international lenders.

Crude for April delivery gained $0.29 or 0.3 percent to close at $93.74 a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange.

by RTT Staff Writer

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