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Australian Market Notably Higher, Led By Banks

The Australian stock market is notably higher on Monday, extending gains from the previous session despite the weak cues from Wall Street Friday.

Investors cheered news that Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison's conservative coalition is close to securing a parliamentary majority as the federal election's final results are being counted. Banks are among the leading gainers.

The benchmark S&P/ASX 200 Index is adding 96.70 points or 1.52 percent to 6,462.00, after rising to a high of 6,475.50 earlier. The broader All Ordinaries Index is advancing 90.30 points or 1.40 percent to 6,550.50. Australian shares closed higher on Friday.

The big four banks are up with sharp gains. Commonwealth Bank is higher by more than 6 percent, ANZ Banking is rising more than 7 percent, National Australia Bank is gaining more than 8 percent and Westpac is up almost 9 percent.

The major miners are mostly higher. Fortescue Metals is higher by almost 3 percent and Rio Tinto is advancing almost 1 percent, while BHP Group is down 0.5 percent.

Meanwhile, oil stocks are weak after crude oil prices closed modestly lower on Friday. Oil Search is down 0.7 percent, while Woodside Petroleum and Santos are lower by almost 1 percent each.

Gold miners are also weak after gold prices fell to a two-week low. Evolution Mining is declining 0.5 percent and Newcrest Mining is up 0.2 percent.

Incitec Pivot reported a 72 percent fall in profit for the first half of the year following the north Queensland floods, and slashed its interim dividend by 3.2 percent. The chemicals and fertilizer manufacturer's shares are losing almost 3 percent.

Elders Ltd. reported a profit for the first half that declined 34 percent from last year, but maintained its full-year underlying earnings outlook as well as its interim dividend. The diversified agriculture company's shares are adding 0.5 percent.

Scentre Group said it has sold a 50 percent stake in Sydney's Westfield Burwood shopping centre for $575 million to Perron Group. The shopping centre company's shares are declining 0.2 percent.

In the currency market, the Australian dollar is higher against the U.S dollar on Monday. The local currency was quoted at $0.6903, up from $0.6989 on Friday.

On Wall Street, stocks closed lower on Friday in a volatile session. Reflecting recent market sensitivity to trade-related news, a late-day pullback came on the heels of a CNBC report indicating negotiations between the U.S. and China appear to have stalled. Citing two sources briefed on the status of trade talks, CNBC said scheduling for the next round of negotiations is "in flux" because it is unclear what the two sides would discuss.

The Dow fell 98.68 points or 0.4 percent to 25,764.00, the Nasdaq slumped 81.76 points or 1 percent to 7,816.28 and the S&P 500 dropped 16.79 points or 0.6 percent to 2,859.53.

The major European markets climbed off their worst levels but still closed lower on Friday. While the German DAX Index slid by 0.6 percent, the French CAC 40 Index dipped by 0.2 percent and the U.K.'s FTSE 100 Index edged down by 0.1 percent.

Crude oil futures pared early gains and settled modestly lower on Friday. WTI crude for June delivery slipped $0.11 or 0.17 percent to close at $62.76 a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange.

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