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Australian Market Recovers After Weak Start

The Australian stock market recovered after a weak start on Tuesday following the mixed cues overnight from Wall Street and is now modestly higher, reflecting gains in banking and oil stocks. Investors digested mixed corporate earnings results.

The benchmark S&P/ASX 200 Index is adding 29.50 points or 0.49 percent to 6,090.30, after rising to a high of 6,093.20 earlier. The broader All Ordinaries Index is up 26.50 points or 0.43 percent to 6,155.10. Australian stocks closed modestly lower on Monday.

In the banking space, ANZ Banking, Westpac and National Australia Bank are advancing in a range of 0.3 percent to 0.7 percent, while Commonwealth Bank is down 0.2 percent.

Macquarie Group reported a 15 percent increase in fiscal 2018 profit and said it expects fiscal 2019 profit to rise another 15 percent to nearly A$3 billion. The wealth management and financial services group's shares are rising more than 3 percent.

Challenger Financial reported a 97 percent plunge in first-half profit on a double-digit decline in revenues and also lowered its outlook for full-year normalised profit. However, the retirement fund manager's shares are adding 0.5 percent.

Among the major miners, Fortescue Metals is edging down 0.1 percent and Rio Tinto is declining 0.2 percent, while BHP Group is adding 0.6 percent.

Meanwhile, gold miners are notably higher even as gold prices declined overnight. Newcrest Mining is rising more than 1 percent and Evolution Mining is advancing almost 2 percent.

In the oil sector, Woodside Petroleum is up 0.3 percent, Oil Search is adding 0.5 percent and Santos is advancing more than 1 percent despite weaker crude oil prices.

Transurban reported a nearly 62 percent fall in first-half profit following its costly acquisition of Sydney's WestConnex motorway scheme, while revenue rose almost 15 percent. The toll road operator's shares are declining more than 2 percent.

In the currency market, the Australian dollar is lower against the U.S. dollar on Tuesday. The local currency was quoted at $0.7063, compared to $0.7097 on Monday.

On Wall Street, stocks closed mixed on Monday in choppy trading amid uncertainty ahead of the next round of trade talks between the U.S. and China due to take place later this week. A lack of major U.S. economic data also kept traders on the sidelines, although reports on consumer and producer price inflation, import and export prices and industrial production are likely to attract attention in the coming days.

While the Dow dipped 53.22 points or 0.2 percent to 25,053.11, the Nasdaq edged up 9.71 points or 0.1 percent to 7,307.90 and the S&P 500 inched up 1.92 points or 0.1 percent to 2,709.80.

The major European markets all moved to the upside on Monday. While the U.K.'s FTSE 100 Index advanced by 0.8 percent, the German DAX Index and the French CAC 40 Index jumped by 1 percent and 1.1 percent, respectively.

Crude oil prices recovered from early weakness on Monday, but still settled on a negative note as weak global growth outlook continued to raise concerns about energy demand. WTI crude for March ended down $0.31 or 0.6 percent at $52.41 a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange.

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