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Australian Market Modestly Higher

The Australian stock market is modestly higher on Tuesday, extending gains from the previous session, following the positive cues overnight from Wall Street amid optimism over U.S.-China trade talks currently underway in Beijing.

Mining stocks and banks are among the leading gainers, while resources stocks are weak despite higher commodity prices. Investors also digested Australia's trade data for November that missed expectations.

The benchmark S&P/ASX 200 Index is adding 10.50 points or 0.18 percent to 5,693.70, off a high of 5,700.80 earlier. The broader All Ordinaries Index is up 10.50 points or 0.18 percent to 5,755.00. The Australian market closed notably higher on Monday.

Among the major miners, Fortescue Metals is higher by more than 1 percent, BHP Group is adding 0.2 percent and Rio Tinto is up 0.1 percent.

The Big Four banks are also mostly higher with modest gains. ANZ Banking, National Australia Bank and Westpac are higher in a range of 0.1 percent to 0.3 percent, while Commonwealth Bank is down 0.3 percent.

Meanwhile, gold miner Newcrest Mining is edging down 0.1 percent and Evolution Mining is losing almost 2 percent despite a modest rebound in gold prices.

Oil stocks are also mostly weak despite a more than 1 percent increase in crude oil prices. Santos is lower by almost 2 percent and Oil Search is declining 1 percent, while Woodside Petroleum is edging up 0.1 percent.

Bingo Industries has offered to divest its waste processing plant in eastern Sydney to address anti-trust concerns related to its planned A$577.5 million acquisition of smaller rival Dial-a-Dump. The waste management company's shares are rising 4 percent.

ResMed has completed its $225 million acquisition of U.S.-based asthma and pulmonary specialist Propeller Health. Shares of the sleep device maker are advancing more than 1 percent.

In economic news, the Australian Bureau of Statistics said that Australia had a seasonally adjusted merchandise trade surplus of A$1.925 billion in November. That was shy of expectations for a surplus of A$2.175 billion and down from A$2.316 billion in October.

Exports for the month rose A$532 million or 1 percent to A$38.445 billion, while imports rose A$620 million or 2 percent to A$36.520 billion.

Australia will also release December numbers for job advertisements today.

In the currency market, the Australian dollar is higher against the U.S. dollar on Tuesday. The local currency was quoted at $0.7147, up from $0.7135 on Monday.

On Wall Street, stocks closed higher on Monday, partly reflecting optimism about high-level trade talks between the U.S. and China in Beijing. Meanwhile, traders largely shrugged off a report from the Institute for Supply Management showing growth in U.S. service sector activity slowed by more than anticipated in the month of December.

The Dow rose 98.19 points or 0.4 percent to 23,531.35, the Nasdaq surged up 84.61 points or 1.3 percent to 6,823.57 and the S&P 500 climbed 17.75 points or 1.7 percent to 2,549.69.

European stocks climbed off their worst levels but still closed lower on Monday. While the German DAX Index edged down by 0.2 percent, the U.K.'s FTSE 100 Index and the French CAC 40 Index both fell by 0.4 percent.

Crude oil prices rose on Monday amid easing worries about global growth and energy demand. WTI crude for February delivery climbed $0.56 or 1.2 percent to $48.52 a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange.

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