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Australian Market Extends Gains

The Australian stock market is rising on Wednesday for the third straight day following the overnight gains on Wall Street amid optimism about U.S.-China trade talks after U.S. President Donald Trump said that talks were going very well. Talks between the two countries have been extended to a third day.

Oil and mining stocks are among the leading gainers, while bank stocks are subdued.

The benchmark S&P/ASX 200 Index is adding 30.00 points or 0.52 percent to 5,752.40, off a high of 5,753.70 earlier. The broader All Ordinaries Index is up 29.80 points or 0.52 percent to 5,813.10. The Australian market closed notably higher on Tuesday.

Oil stocks are gaining after crude oil prices rose more than 2 percent overnight. Santos is adding more than 1 percent, Oil Search is advancing almost 2 percent and Woodside Petroleum is rising more than 2 percent.

The major miners are also mostly higher. Fortescue Metals is higher by more than 1 percent and Rio Tinto is adding 0.5 percent, while BHP Group is declining 0.6 percent.

Gold miner Newcrest Mining is edging up 0.1 percent, while Evolution Mining is down 0.3 percent after gold prices declined overnight.

The major banks are modestly lower. ANZ Banking, National Australia Bank and Westpac are all edging down 0.1 percent each, while Commonwealth Bank is down 0.3 percent.

Shares of Navigator Global Investments are falling more than 29 percent after the fund manager said that increased volatility and the downturn in global asset markets over the December 2018 quarter reduced its assets under management.

In economic news, the latest survey from the Australian Industry Group showed that the service sector in Australia continued to expand in December, albeit at a slower pace, with a Performance of Service Index score of 52.1. That's down from 55.1 in November, although it remains above the boom-or-bust line of 50 that separates expansion from contraction.

Australia will also release November numbers for building approvals today.

In the currency market, the Australian dollar is higher against the U.S. dollar on Wednesday. The local currency was quoted at $0.7144, up from $0.7129 on Tuesday.

On Wall Street, stocks closed higher on Tuesday for the third straight session amid optimism about trade talks between the U.S. and China. The second day of negotiations coincided with an unannounced visit by North Korean leader Kim Jong Un, with some analysts saying China could use Kim's visit as a bargaining chip in the trade talks.

The Dow surged up 256.10 points or 1.1 percent to 23,787.45, the Nasdaq jumped 73.53 points or 1.1 percent to 6,897.00 and the S&P 500 shot up 24.72 points or 1 percent to 2,574.41.

The major European markets also moved to the upside on Tuesday. While the French CAC 40 Index jumped by 1.2 percent, the U.K.'s FTSE 100 Index and the German DAX Index climbed by 0.7 percent and 0.5 percent, respectively.

Crude oil prices moved up sharply on Tuesday, extending gains to a seventh successive session, riding on optimism about U.S.-China trade discussions and reports about output reductions by oil producers. WTI crude for February ended up $1.26 or 2.6 percent at $49.78 a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange.

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