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Australian Market Advances

The Australian stock market is advancing on Tuesday following the positive cues overnight from Wall Street on better-than-expected U.S. retail sales data. News that British Prime Minister Theresa May has managed to win last-minute support from the European Union for her Brexit deal also boosted sentiment.

The benchmark S&P/ASX 200 Index is adding 25.90 points or 0.42 percent to 6,206.10, after rising to a high of 6,222.90 earlier. The broader All Ordinaries Index is advancing 27.30 points or 0.44 percent to 6,290.60. Australian stocks declined on Monday.

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

Among the major miners, Fortescue Metals, Rio Tinto and BHP Group are all advancing more than 1 percent each.

In the banking space, National Australia Bank, Westpac and Commonwealth Bank are rising in a range of 0.1 percent to 0.6 percent, while ANZ Banking is declining 0.6 percent.

Meanwhile, gold miners are weak after a decline in gold prices. Newcrest Mining is down 2 percent and Evolution Mining is lower by more than 1 percent.

Intellectual property company IPH Limited has made a hostile takeover bid worth A$1.97 per share in cash and stock for Xenith IP Group, just three weeks before Xenith shareholders vote on a merger with QANTM Intellectual Property. Shares of IPH are rising almost 3 percent, while those of Xenith are gaining more than 12 percent.

McGrath Ltd. said its chief financial officer Glynn Wright has resigned and will leave the company in June, after less than eighteen months in the job. Shares of the realtor are declining almost 2 percent.

In economic news, Australia will release January figures for home loans as well as February results for the indexes for business confidence and conditions from NAB today.

In the currency market, the Australian dollar is higher against the U.S dollar on Tuesday. The local currency was quoted at $0.7073, up from $0.7042 on Monday.

On Wall Street, stocks closed sharply higher on Monday following the release of a report from the Commerce Department showing an unexpected uptick in U.S. retail sales in January. However, the Dow underperformed its counterparts due to a steep drop by Boeing, following the crash of Ethiopian Airlines Flight 302, which was the second crash in five months involving the company's 737 Max 8 model.

The Dow climbed 200.64 points or 0.8 percent to 25,650.88, while the Nasdaq soared 149.92 points or 2 percent to 7,558.06 and the S&P 500 jumped 40.23 points or 1.5 percent to 2,783.30.

The major European markets also moved to the upside on Monday. While the U.K.'s FTSE 100 Index rose by 0.3 percent, the French CAC 40 Index and the German DAX Index advanced by 0.7 percent and 0.8 percent, respectively.

Crude oil prices moved higher on Monday, lifted by reports that Saudi Arabia is planning to extend output cuts. WTI crude for April ended up $0.72 or 1.3 percent at $56.79 a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange.

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