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Australian Market Advances, Led By Mining Stocks

The Australian stock market is advancing on Wednesday despite the modest losses overnight on Wall Street. Mining stocks are leading the gainers, thanks to a surge in iron ore prices.

The benchmark S&P/ASX 200 Index is adding 27.00 points or 0.41 percent to 6,573.30, just off a high of 6,574.50. The broader All Ordinaries Index is up 30.30 points or 0.46 percent to 6,654.70. Australian stocks closed higher on Tuesday as traders returned to their desks following a long weekend.

In the mining space, Fortescue Metals is rising more than 3 percent, BHP Group is advancing almost 2 percent and Rio Tinto is adding more than 1 percent after iron ore futures gained 6 percent on China's Dalian Commodity Exchange.

Gold miners are also advancing after gold prices edged higher. Evolution Mining is higher by almost 1 percent and Newcrest Mining is adding 0.2 percent.

Oil stocks are higher even as crude oil prices ended little changed overnight. Santos is rising 0.6 percent, Oil Search is higher by 0.4 percent and Woodside Petroleum is up 0.1 percent.

Among the big four banks, ANZ Banking, Westpac and National Australia Bank are higher in a range of 0.1 percent to 0.3 percent, while Commonwealth Bank is edging down 0.1 percent.

Wesfamers said it has agreed to acquire online retailer Catch Group for A$230 million in cash. The Catch of the Day operator will be an independent unit under the oversight of Kmart Group managing director Ian Bailey. Shares of Wesfarmers are adding 0.4 percent.

Afterpay Touch Group said it has completed a A$317 million capital raising it and the money raised would underpin its mid-term plan for growth in the Australia, the US and the UK. Shares of Afterpay are gaining almost 5 percent.

In economic news, Australia will see June figures for the consumer confidence index from Westpac Bank today.

In the currency market, the Australian dollar is higher against the U.S dollar on Wednesday. The local currency was quoted at $0.6962, up from $0.6955 on Tuesday.

On Wall Street, stocks failed to sustain an upward move and closed slightly lower on Tuesday in a choppy session as traders awaited further developments regarding the ongoing trade dispute between the U.S. and China. The U.S.-China trade conflict largely took a back seat to President Donald Trump's threatened tariffs on Mexico but may move back into the spotlight ahead of the G20 summit later this month.

After closing higher for six consecutive sessions, the Dow slipped 14.17 points or 0.1 percent to 26,048.51. The Nasdaq edged down 0.60 points or less than a tenth of a percent to 7,822.57, while the S&P 500 dipped 1.01 points or less than a tenth of a percent to 2,885.72.

The major European markets moved to the upside on Tuesday. While the German DAX Index advanced by 0.9 percent, the French CAC 40 Index climbed by 0.5 percent and the U.K.'s FTSE 100 Index rose by 0.3 percent.

Crude oil futures ended little changed on Tuesday after swinging between gains and losses, as traders made cautious moves ahead of weekly inventory data. WTI crude for July ended up $0.01 to close at $53.27 a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange.

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