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Asian Markets In Positive Territory

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Asian stock markets are in positive territory Thursday on improved risk appetite following the overnight gains on Wall Street amid easing tensions in Hong Kong and on diminished chances of a no-deal Brexit in the UK. Investors also digested news that the U.S. and China have agreed to hold another round of trade talks in Washington in early October.

The Australian market is advancing following the positive cues from Wall Street.

The benchmark S&P/ASX 200 Index is adding 25.80 points or 0.39 percent to 6,578.80, after touching a high of 6,581.10 earlier. The broader All Ordinaries Index is up 28.10 points or 0.42 percent to 6,684.20. Australian stocks closed lower on Wednesday.

In the oil space, Oil Search is rising almost 2 percent, Santos is advancing more than 1 percent and Woodside Petroleum is adding 1 percent after crude oil prices gained overnight.

The big four banks are also advancing. ANZ Banking, National Australia Bank, Commonwealth Bank and Westpac are higher in a range of 0.5 percent to 1.0 percent.

Among the major miners, Fortescue Metals is gaining almost 4 percent and Rio Tinto is advancing more than 1 percent, while BHP Billiton is declining almost 1 percent.

Gold miner Newcrest Mining is edging down 0.1 percent and Evolution Mining is declining 0.6 percent even as gold prices rose modestly overnight.

Myer Holdings reported a narrow full-year profit, compared to a loss last year, while revenue declined more than 3 percent. The department store chain's shares are gaining almost 8 percent.

Sigma Healthcare reported an 81 percent fall in half-year profit on lower sales revenue as well as one-time restructuring costs and also cut its interim dividend. The retail pharmacy group's shares are losing almost 6 percent.

TPG Telecom said its full-year profit fell 56 percent after the company incurred huge costs from scrapping its planned mobile network. The internet provider's shares are declining almost 1 percent.

In economic news, Australia is scheduled to release trade data for July today.

In the currency market, the Australian dollar rose against the U.S. dollar on Thursday. The local currency was quoted at $0.6798, compared to $0.6779 on Wednesday.

The Japanese market is rising and the safe-haven yen weakened following the overnight gains on Wall Street.

The benchmark Nikkei 225 Index is advancing 302.42 points or 1.46 percent to 20,951.56, after rising to a high of 20,958.91 earlier. Japanese shares closed marginally higher on Wednesday.

The major exporters are higher on a weaker yen. Mitsubishi Electric is gaining more than 3 percent, Sony is gaining more than 2 percent, Panasonic is higher by almost 2 percent and Canon is advancing more than 1 percent.

In the tech space, Advantest is gaining more than 4 percent and Tokyo Electron is rising more than 3 percent. In the auto sector, Honda Motor is adding more than 2 percent and Toyota Motor is edging up 0.1 percent.

Shares of Nissan Motor are declining more than 1 percent after the Nikkei reported that an internal investigation by the automaker showed CEO Hiroto Saikawa is suspected of improperly adding 47 million yen to his compensation by manipulating the terms of a performance-based bonus.

Market heavyweight SoftBank is advancing almost 1 percent and Fast Retailing is adding 0.5 percent.

Among oil stocks, Japan Petroleum is gaining 2 percent and Inpex is higher by more than 1 percent.

Among the other major gainers, Toho Zinc is gaining more than 8 percent, while Kawasaki Kisen Kaisha and Nippon Kayaku Co. are higher by more than 5 percent each.

On the flip side, Tokyo Dome is losing more than 7 percent.

In the currency market, the U.S. dollar is trading in the lower 106 yen-range on Thursday.

Elsewhere in Asia, Shanghai is rising almost 2 percent and South Korea is advancing more than 1 percent. Taiwan and New Zealand are adding almost 1 percent each. Singapore, Indonesia, Malaysia and Hong Kong are also higher.

On Wall Street, stocks closed higher on Wednesday, reflecting a positive reaction to developments overseas, including news that Hong Kong leader Carrie Lam has withdrawn a controversial extradition bill. The bill, which would have allowed people in Hong Kong to be extradited to mainland China, sparked widespread protests across Hong Kong.

Positive sentiment was also generated in reaction to a report showing growth in China's service sector accelerated in August despite broader economic headwinds.

The Dow advanced 237.45 points or 0.9 percent to 26,355.47, the Nasdaq soared 102.72 points or 1.3 percent to 7,976.88 and the S&P 500 jumped 31.51 points or 1.1 percent to 2,937.78.

The major European markets also moved to the upside on Wednesday. While the U.K.'s FTSE 100 Index rose by 0.6 percent, the German DAX Index jumped by 1 percent and the French CAC 40 Index surged up by 1.2 percent.

Crude oil futures rebounded from previous session's losses and recorded their biggest single-session gain in about two months on Wednesday, buoyed by strong service sector data out of China and positive news on the political front. WTI crude for October delivery spiked $2.32 or 4.3 percent to $56.26 a barrel.

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