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Australian Market Advances On Wall Street Lead

The Australian stock market is trading notably higher on Friday with investors indulging in fairly strong buying at several front line counters, after the previous session's weakness. The overnight positive close on Wall Street is also aiding sentiment to an extent.

Financial, energy, property trusts and healthcare stocks are mostly up with strong gains. Stocks from industrial, consumer discretionary and energy sectors are also edging higher.

The benchmark S&P/ASX 200 index is up 42.7 points or 0.9 percent at 4,552. The broader All Ordinaries index is trading at 4,556, up 40.3 points or 0.9 percent from its previous close.

In the banking space, ANZ Bank (ANZ), Commonwealth Bank of Australia, National Australia Bank and Westpac (WBK) are trading higher by 0.6 to 1 percent. Bendigo & Adelaide Bank is up nearly a percent and Bank of Queensland is gaining more than 2 percent.

Among top miners, BHP Billiton (BHP, BBL) is up 0.6 percent and Rio Tinto (RIO, RIO.L) is up with a gain of 0.8 percent.

In the enery sector, Woodside Petroleum and Oil Search are up 0.8 percent and 0.6 percent respectively, while Caltex Australia, Origin Energy and Santos are up marginally.

Goodman Group is up 4.3 percent and Paladin Energy is gaining about 4 percent. Westfield Group, Brambles, Centro Retail Australia, CSL, Lend Lease Group, Boral, GPT Group, Perseus Mining and Dexus Property Group are trading higher by 2.3 to 3 percent.

Commonwealth Property Office Fund, QBE Insurance Group, Mirvac Group, Stockland, James Hardie Industries, Newcrest Mining, Lynas Corporation and News Corporation are also trading sharply higher.

In economic news, Australia saw a seasonally adjusted merchandise trade deficit of A$2.09 billion in October, according to the data released by the Australian Bureau of Statistics. That beat forecasts for a shortfall of A$2.2 billion following the A$1.46 billion deficit in September.

Exports were flat on month after dipping 1.0 percent in the previous month, while imports added 3.0 percent after falling 2.0 percent a month earlier.

In the currency market, the Australian dollar opened higher and was quoting at US$1.0473 in early trades, up from Thursday's close of US$1.0461.

On Wall Street, stocks posted moderate gains on Thursday, although buying interest remained relatively subdued. Traders seemed somewhat reluctant to make any significant moves ahead of Friday's monthly jobs report.

The major averages finished the day firmly in positive territory after ending the previous session mixed. The Dow rose 39.6 points or 0.3 percent to 13,074, the Nasdaq advanced 15.6 or 0.5 percent to 2,989.3 and the S&P 500 climbed 4.7 points or 0.3 percent at 1,413.9.

Major European markets too ended higher on Thursday. The German DAX index gained 1.1 percent, while the French CAC 40 index and the U.K.'s FTSE 100 index moved up by 0.3 percent and 0.2 percent, respectively.

U.S. crude oil ended sharply lower for a third straight session on Thursday, on a strong dollar and demand concerns after an Energy Information Administration weekly oil report yesterday showed a more-than-expected increase in gasoline inventories last week.

Crude for January delivery plummeted $1.62 or 1.8 percent to close at $86.26 a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange.

by RTTNews Staff Writer

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