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Australian Market Advances

The Australian stock market is advancing on Friday following the overnight gains on Wall Street as upbeat corporate earnings results and U.S. economic data helped offset worries about U.S.-China trade tensions. The major miners, oil and tech stocks are among the leading gainers.

The benchmark S&P/ASX 200 Index is adding 55.40 points or 0.88 percent to 6,383.20, after rising to a high of 6,386.60 earlier. The broader All Ordinaries Index is rising 56.40 points or 0.88 percent to 6,473.90. Australian shares closed modestly higher on Thursday.

In the tech sector, WiseTech Global is rising more than 4 percent, Afterpay Touch is advancing almost 3 percent and Altium is higher by almost 2 percent.

Among the major miners, Fortescue Metals is higher by more than 3 percent, Rio Tinto is gaining more than 2 percent and BHP Group is rising almost 2 percent.

Oil stocks are also higher after crude oil prices rose to a two-week high overnight. Oil Search is up almost 2 percent, Woodside Petroleum is adding more than 1 percent and Santos is higher by almost 1 percent.

Meanwhile, the big four banks are mixed. ANZ Banking is edging up 0.1 percent and Commonwealth Bank is rising 0.4 percent, while National Australia Bank is down 0.3 percent and Westpac is declining 0.6 percent.

Gold miners are weak after gold prices fell almost 1 percent overnight. Evolution Mining is declining almost 2 percent and Newcrest Mining is lower by almost 1 percent.

Virgin Australia said it expects to report a full-year underlying earning loss of at least A$35.6 million. The airline's shares are losing more than 5 percent.

New Zealand-based infrastructure investment company Infratil reported a loss for the full year and its shares entered a trading halt as the company initiated a NZ$400 million capital raising to fund its joint acquisition of mobile operator Vodafone NZ, along with Canada's Brookfield Asset Management.

In the currency market, the Australian dollar is lower against the U.S dollar on Friday. The local currency was quoted at $0.6888, down from $0.6913 on Thursday.

On Wall Street, stocks closed higher on Thursday, extending gains from the previous sessions, partly reflecting a positive reaction to earnings news from retail giant Walmart and networking giant Cisco Systems. The markets also benefited from the release of a batch of upbeat economic data, including report from the Labor Department showing initial jobless claims dropped more than expected in the week ended May 11th.

The Dow climbed 214.66 points or 0.8 percent to 25,862.68, the Nasdaq jumped 75.90 points or 1 percent to 7,898.05 and the S&P 500 advanced 25.36 points or 0.9 percent to 2,876.32.

The major European markets all moved to the upside on Thursday. While the German DAX Index surged up by 1.7 percent, the French CAC 40 Index jumped by 1.4 percent and the U.K.'s FTSE 100 Index advanced by 0.8 percent.

Crude oil prices climbed to a 2-week high on Thursday, extending recent gains, amid concerns about supply disruptions due to an escalation in tensions in the Middle East. West Texas Intermediate Crude oil futures for June ended up $0.85, or 1.4%, at $62.87 a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange.

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