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Australian Market Notably Higher

The Australian stock market is notably higher on Monday following the positive cues from Wall Street Friday and buoyed by news that the U.S. and China have agreed to a 90-day trade truce between the two countries at the G-20 summit in Argentina.

The benchmark S&P/ASX 200 Index is advancing 77.00 points or 1.36 percent to 5,744.20, after rising to a high of 5,758.60 earlier. The broader All Ordinaries Index is adding 80.50 points or 1.40 percent to 5,829.80. Australian shares tumbled on Friday as financial stocks succumbed to heavy selling pressure.

The major miners are notably higher. Fortescue Metals is gaining more than 4 percent, BHP is rising more than 2 percent and Rio Tinto is advancing 2 percent.

Oil stocks are higher despite a decline in crude oil prices Friday. Santos is gaining more than 5 percent, Oil Search is rising more than 3 percent and Woodside Petroleum is advancing almost 2 percent.

In the banking sector, Westpac, Commonwealth Bank and ANZ Banking are higher in a range of 0.2 percent to 0.8 percent, while National Australia Bank is down 0.2 percent.

Bucking the trend, gold miners are weak after gold prices dipped on Friday. Evolution Mining is down 0.2 percent and Newcrest Mining is declining more than 1 percent.

GrainCorp's shares are gaining almost 27 percent after the grain handler received an all-cash A$2.38 billion buyout offer from asset manager Long-Term Asset Partners.

BlueScope Steel has launched a new A $250 million share buyback after it projected a 10 percent increase in first-half underlying EBIT compared to the preceding half year. The steelmaker's shares are gaining more than 8 percent.

Ansell will shut three production facilities in Mexico and South Korea as the protective glove manufacturer as it pushes to cut its annual expenses by A$30 million a year by 2020. The company's shares are rising more than 3 percent.

The Reject Shop chairman Bill Stevens has urged the company's shareholders to reject a A$78 million takeover bid, alleging that the Allensford Group, controlled by the Geminder family, was trying to get the retailer "on the cheap". The company's shares are higher by almost 2 percent.

Meanwhile, Metcash reported a 3 percent increase in first-half profit, but projected more tough times for supermarkets and the likely impact of a slowing property market on its hardware business. The wholesaler's shares are losing more than 3 percent.

Nine Entertainment said it will make 144 positions redundant following its merger with Fairfax Media, a move that will affect 92 employees. The company's shares are down 0.6 percent.

In economic news, the latest survey from the Australian Industry Group revealed that the manufacturing sector in Australia continued to expand in November, albeit at a much slower pace, with a Performance of Manufacturing Index score of 51.3. That's down sharply from 58.3, although it remains above the boom-or-bust line of 50 that separates expansion from contraction.

Australia is also scheduled to see results from a raft of data on Monday. On tap are October figures for building approvals, November data for TD Securities' inflation forecast, ANZ job ads and the RBA's commodity index - plus Q3 numbers for company operating profits.

In the currency market, the Australian dollar is higher against the U.S. dollar on Monday. The local currency was quoted at $0.7367, up from $0.7315 on Friday.

On Wall Street, stocks closed higher on Friday, reflecting optimism ahead of a highly anticipated meeting between President Donald Trump and Chinese President Xi Jinping on the sidelines of the G20 summit in Buenos Aires, Argentina. Ahead of the meeting, Trump offered mixed remarks about the likelihood the U.S. and China will reach an agreement to end the escalating trade dispute between the world's two largest economies.

The Dow climbed 199.62 points or 0.8 percent to 25,538.46, the Nasdaq advanced 57.45 points or 0.8 percent to 7,330.54 and the S&P 500 rose 22.40 points or 0.8 percent to 2,760.16.

The major European markets all moved to the downside on Friday. While the French CAC 40 Index edged down by 0.1 percent, the German DAX Index fell by 0.4 percent and the U.K.'s FTSE 100 Index slid by 0.8 percent.

Crude oil prices slipped on Friday as demand growth worries resurfaced after China reported its weakest factory growth in more than two years. WTI crude for January fell $0.52 or 1 percent to settle at $50.93 a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange.

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