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Australian Market Advances

The Australian stock market is advancing on Monday despite the mostly negative cues from Wall Street, as gains by banks and oil stocks more than offset weakness in mining stocks.

In late-morning trades, the benchmark S&P/ASX 200 Index is rising 26.50 points or 0.47 percent to 5,699.10, off a high of 5703.10 earlier. The broader All Ordinaries Index is up 24.60 points or 0.43 percent to 5,764.00.

In the banking sector, Westpac, Commonwealth Bank, National Australia Bank and ANZ Banking are higher in a range of 0.8 percent to 1.2 percent.

Macquarie Group said it expects stronger performance fees to lift its results for the first half of fiscal 2018, but anticipates full-year performance will be in line with 2017. The bank's shares are rising more than 2 percent.

Oil stocks are also mostly higher despite a more than 3 percent fall in crude oil prices Friday. Santos is rising 0.4 percent and Oil Search is adding 0.7 percent, while Woodside Petroleum is down 0.4 percent.

Origin Energy will buy a 27.77 percent stake in the Otway gas project and minority interests in exploration joint ventures from oil and gas explorer Benaris for $190 million. Origin Energy's shares are adding 0.5 percent.

In the mining space, BHP Billiton and Rio Tinto are losing more than 2 percent each, while Fortescue Metals is declining almost 3 percent as base metal prices tumbled.

Gold miners are also weak. Newcrest Mining is declining 3 percent and Evolution Mining is down more than 2 percent.

Tabcorp expects to complete its A$11 billion merger with rival Tatts Group on November 1. Shares of Tabcorp are advancing more than 1 percent.

In the currency market, the Australian dollar is lower against the U.S. dollar on Monday. In early trades, the local unit was trading at US$0.8050, down from US$0.8100 on Friday.

On Wall Street, stocks closed mostly lower on Friday amid concerns about the economic impact of Hurricane Irma and on worries about North Korea, which is celebrating a holiday on Saturday that could be a key date for another intercontinental ballistic missile launch.

While the Dow inched up 13.01 points or 0.1 percent to 21,797.79, the Nasdaq fell 37.68 points or 0.6 percent to 6,360.19 and the S&P 500 dipped 3.67 points or 0.2 percent to 2,461.43.

The major European markets ended mixed on Friday. While the German DAX Index inched up by 0.1 percent, the French CAC 40 Index closed just below the unchanged line and the U.K.'s FTSE 100 Index fell by 0.3 percent.

Crude oil futures fell Friday, but held onto weekly gains as industry data showed the U.S. oil rig count dropped for a third week in four. WTI crude for October delivery plunged $1.61 or 3.28 percent to $47.48 a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange.

by RTT Staff Writer

For comments and feedback: editorial@rttnews.com

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