The Australian stock market is trading higher on Wednesday with investors picking up stocks, tracking cues from Wall Street where the major averages posted solid gains overnight amid renewed optimism about the U.S. government fixing the fiscal cliff.
Energy, consumer staples, healthcare, mining and industrial stocks are trading higher. Healthcare and property trusts stocks are trading mixed.
The benchmark S&P/ASX 200 index, which rose to around 4,627 in early trades, is currently up 21.4 points or 0.5 percent at 4,616.6. The broader All Ordinaries index is up 20.7 points or 0.4 percent at 4,631.2, around 10 points off an early high of 4,641.5.
Troubled retailer Billabong announced it would consider a A$527 million takeover bid. Its shares will resume trading at 1100 AEDT after being in a halt for two days.
Whitehaven Coal shares are up 5.3 percent following an announcement from the company that it held talks with China's largest coal company, Shenhua Group, but no offers were currently on the table.
Iluka Resources is up nearly 4 percent. Boart Longyear, Spark Infrastructure, Macquarie Group, Origin Energy, WorleyParsons, Incitec Pivot and Orica are trading higher by 2 to 3 percent.
Stockland, Sydney Airport, SP Ausnet, James Hardie Industries, Aurora Oil & Gas and QBE Insurance Group are up 1.6 to 2 percent.
Sims Metal Management is trading lower by 3.7 percent. Oz Minerals and Perseus Mining are also down by over 3 percent. Newcrest Mining is down with a loss of 2.3 percent and Arrium is losing about 2 percent.
Among other markets in the Asia-Pacific region, Hong Kong, Malaysia, Japan, New Zealand, Singapore and Taiwan are all trading notably higher.
On Wall Street, stocks ended notably higher on Tuesday, amid signs of progress in budget negotiations between President Barack Obama and House Speaker John Boehner, R-Ohio.
The major averages closed near their best levels of the day. The Dow rose 115.6 points or 0.9 percent to 13,351, the Nasdaq jumped 43.9 points or 1.5 percent to 3,054.5 and the S&P 500 surged up 16.4 points or 1.2 percent to 1,446.8.
Major European markets too closed higher on Tuesday. While the German DAX index climbed 0.6 percent, the U.K.'s FTSE 100 index and the French CAC 40 index ended higher by 0.4 percent and 0.3 percent, respectively.
U.S. crude oil settled higher on Tuesday, extending gains for a third straight session, amid hopes of a resolution to the U.S. budget talks that will avert the impending fiscal cliff and optimism of oil demand growth after some upbeat macroeconomic data out of the U.S.
Crude for January delivery gained $0.73 or 0.8 percent to close at $87.93 a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange.
by RTT Staff Writer
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