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Australian Market Rises

The Australian stock market is rising on Thursday, with stocks mostly higher across the board, following the overnight rally on Wall Street after the U.S. midterm elections came largely in line with expectations. Mostly upbeat corporate earnings results also boosted investor sentiment.

The benchmark S&P/ASX 200 Index is adding 34.30 points or 0.58 percent to 5,931.20, off a high of 5,934.70 earlier. The broader All Ordinaries Index is advancing 38.30 points or 0.64 percent to 6,020.30. Australian stocks eked out modest gains on Wednesday.

Among the major miners, Rio Tinto is rising more than 1 percent, BHP is advancing almost 1 percent and Fortescue Metals is up 0.2 percent.

BHP said it has secured a full participating interest in and operatorship of two exploration licenses for oil assets in offshore eastern Canada.

The big four banks - Commonwealth Bank, National Australia Bank, ANZ Banking and Westpac - are higher in a range of 0.2 percent to 1.3 percent.

Oil stocks are also rising despite crude oil prices falling to a nearly eight-month low. Santos is up 0.4 percent, Woodside Petroleum is rising 0.5 percent and Oil Search is adding more than 1 percent.

Meanwhile, gold miners are weak after gold prices retreated, but still closed higher overnight. Evolution Mining is declining more than 2 percent and Newcrest Mining is lower by 1 percent.

The ACCC has approved the merger of Nine Entertainment and Fairfax Media, noting that while the merger will "likely reduce competition" in the Australian news content market, it is not likely to substantially lessen competition in any market in breach of the Competition and Consumer Act. Shares of Nine Entertainment are rising more than 1 percent, while those of Fairfax are gaining almost 2 percent.

News Corp. reported a 49 percent increase in its first-quarter profit on double-digit revenue growth. The media giant's shares are rising more than 4 percent.

REA Group, the owner of real estate portal realestate.com and majority owned by News Corp., said its first-quarter profit rose 23 percent on a 17 percent increase in revenue. Shares of the company are gaining 10 percent.

James Hardie Industries reported a 17 percent increase in first-half profit, but lowered its full-year operating profit outlook, citing uncertain conditions in its key U.S. market. The building products supplier's shares are losing more than 14 percent.

In the currency market, the Australian dollar is higher against the U.S. dollar on Thursday. The local currency was quoted at $0.7271, up from $0.7259 on Wednesday.

On Wall Street, stocks rallied on Wednesday, adding to the gains posted in the previous session, as the results of the highly anticipated midterm elections on Tuesday came largely in line with expectations. Democrats retook control of the House for the first time since 2010, while Republicans tightened their hold on the Senate.

The Dow surged up 545.29 points or 2.1 percent to 26,180.30, the Nasdaq soared 194.79 points or 2.6 percent to 7,570.75 and the S&P 500 spiked 58.44 points or 2.1 percent to 2,813.89.

The major European markets also moved notably higher on Wednesday. While the German DAX Index advanced by 0.8 percent, the U.K.'s FTSE 100 Index and the French CAC 40 Index surged up by 1.1 percent and 1.2 percent, respectively.

Crude oil prices tumbled after an early surge on Wednesday as data from the U.S. Energy Information Administration showed a seventh straight weekly rise in U.S. crude inventories. WTI crude for December declined $0.54 or 0.9 percent to close at $61.67 a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange, the lowest settlement price in nearly eight months.

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