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Australian Market Flat Ahead Of Unemployment Data

The Australian stock market opened higher on Thursday following the positive cues overnight from Wall Street after media reports indicated that U.S. President Donald Trump plans to delay imposing steep tariffs on auto imports by up to six months.

However, the market has pared earlier gains and is now flat. Investors are cautious as they look ahead to Australia's unemployment data for April to be released later in the day.

The benchmark S&P/ASX 200 Index is declining 4.00 points or 0.06 percent to 6,280.20, after rising to a high of 6,299.80 earlier. The broader All Ordinaries Index is up 0.50 points or 0.01 percent to 6,371.40. Australian shares closed higher on Wednesday.

Oil stocks are higher after crude oil prices rose overnight. Oil Search and Woodside Petroleum are rising almost 1 percent each, while Santos is higher by more than 1 percent.

Gold miners are also higher after gold prices edged up overnight. Evolution Mining is rising 0.6 percent and Newcrest Mining is advancing almost 1 percent.

Among the major miners, Fortescue Metals is advancing almost 2 percent and Rio Tinto is up 0.1 percent, while BHP Group is down 0.2 percent.

Meanwhile, the big four banks are mixed. ANZ Banking is adding 0.5 percent and Commonwealth Bank is up 0.2 percent, while National Australia Bank is down 0.6 percent and Westpac is declining almost 1 percent. Shares of Westpac are trading ex-dividend.

Xero reported an underlying loss for the full year that narrowed sharply from last year, while operating revenue grew 36 percent. The New Zealand-based accounting software company's shares are gaining more than 9 percent.

Blackmores said its managing director for Australia and New Zealand, David Fenlon, has quit the company to become CEO of natural beauty product manufacturer BWX. The supplement maker's shares are losing 1 percent.

CSR has appointed Goodman Fielder managing director Julie Coates as its new chief executive and managing director, replacing Rob Sindel, who is retiring. The construction materials company's shares are up 0.7 percent.

CSL said it has appointed Paul McKenzie, the former executive vice president of U.S. biotech company Biogen, as its chief operating officer. The biotech company's shares are edging up 0.1 percent.

On the economic front, Australia will release unemployment numbers for April as well as consumer inflation expectations for May later today.

In the currency market, the Australian dollar is lower against the U.S dollar on Thursday. The local currency was quoted at $0.6922, down from $0.6930 on Wednesday.

On Wall Street, stocks closed higher on Wednesday, reflecting a positive reaction to reports President Donald Trump plans to delay imposing steep tariffs on auto imports. Media reports indicated Trump plans to delay imposing the auto tariffs by up to six months in order to allow negotiations to continue.

The Dow rose 115.97 points or 0.5 percent to 25,648.02, the Nasdaq jumped 87.65 points or 1.1 percent to 7,822.15 and the S&P 500 climbed 16.55 points or 0.6 percent to 2,850.96.

The major European markets also moved to the upside on Wednesday. While the French CAC 40 Index climbed by 0.6 percent, the U.K.'s FTSE 100 Index and the German DAX Index advanced by 0.8 percent and 0.9 percent, respectively.

Crude oil prices rose on Wednesday. WTI crude oil for June delivery added $0.24 to close at $62.02 a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange.

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