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Australian Market Extends Gains

The Australian stock market is rising on Friday, extending gains from the previous session following the overnight rebound on Wall Street and higher commodity prices. Lack of an escalation in U.S.-China trade tensions also boosted investor sentiment.

In late-morning trades, the benchmark S&P/ASX 200 Index is adding 13.30 points or 0.21 percent to 6,281.60, slightly off a high of 6,287.10. The broader All Ordinaries Index is up 11.50 points or 0.18 percent to 6,361.30. Australian shares closed higher on Thursday.

The major miners are advancing after iron ore prices edged up overnight. BHP Billiton is adding 0.4 percent and Fortescue Metals is up 0.2 percent.

Rio Tinto is rising 0.6 percent after the company said it has signed a heads of agreement to sell its interest in Indonesia's Grasberg mine - the world's second biggest copper mine, for $3.5 billion.

Gold miners are mixed even as gold prices rose overnight. Evolution Mining is higher by 0.3 percent, while Newcrest Mining is edging down by less than 0.1 percent.

Oil stocks are mostly lower as crude oil prices edged lower overnight. Oil Search is adding 0.1 percent, while Woodside Petroleum is losing 0.6 percent and Santos is lower by 0.3 percent.

In the banking space, ANZ Banking, Westpac, National Australia Bank and Commonwealth Bank are lower in a range of 0.3 percent to 0.6 percent.

In the currency market, the Australian dollar is higher against the U.S. dollar on Friday. The local currency was quoted at US$0.7405, down from US$0.7387 on Thursday.

On Wall Street, stocks rebounded to close higher on Thursday, partly due to optimism about the upcoming earnings season as several leading financial companies are due to report their quarterly results on Friday. Easing trade concerns also contributed to the rally.

The tech-heavy Nasdaq soared 107.30 points or 1.4 percent to a new record closing high of 7,823.92, the Dow jumped 224.74 points or 0.9 percent to 24,924.89, and the S&P 500 surged up 24.27 points or 0.9 percent to 2,798.29.

The major European markets also moved back to the upside on Thursday. While the French CAC 40 Index jumped by 1 percent, the U.K.'s FTSE 100 Index advanced by 0.8 percent and the German DAX Index climbed by 0.6 percent.

Crude oil futures failed to rally Thursday after the International Energy Agency or IEA warned that the world's oil supply cushion "might be stretched to the limit" due to production losses. WTI crude dipped $0.05 to $70.33 a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange.

by RTTNews Staff Writer

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