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Australian Market Rises

The Australian stock market is rising on Thursday following the positive cues overnight from Wall Street after the U.S. and China granted tariff exemptions to each other ahead of the next round of trade talks. Optimism about new global stimulus ahead of the European Central Bank's monetary policy decision later in the day also boosted sentiment.

The benchmark S&P/ASX 200 Index is adding 39.50 points or 0.60 percent to 6,677.50, after touching a high of 6,681.90 earlier. The broader All Ordinaries Index is rising 39.50 points or 0.58 percent to 6,791.10. Australian stocks closed modestly higher on Wednesday.

The major miners are higher. Fortescue Metals is gaining more than 2 percent, Rio Tinto is rising 0.5 percent and BHP Billiton is adding 0.4 percent.

Gold miner Newcrest Mining is adding more than 1 percent and Evolution Mining is advancing almost 2 percent after gold prices rose overnight.

The big four banks are also advancing. ANZ Banking, National Australia Bank, Commonwealth Bank and Westpac are higher in a range of 0.7 percent to 0.8 percent.

Commonwealth Bank has issued $2.5 billion worth of subordinated notes, after the banking regulator said that banks need to bolster their capital.

Westpac chief financial officer Peter King will retire in 2020 after serving for 25 years with the bank. King has given twelve months' notice and will continue in the role until a successor is appointed.

In the oil space, Woodside Petroleum is declining almost 1 percent and Oil Search is lower by 0.3 percent, while Santos is adding 0.3 percent, after crude oil prices fell overnight.

In economic news, Australia will today see September results for its consumer inflation forecast in August.

In the currency market, the Australian dollar is slightly higher against the U.S. dollar on Thursday. The local currency was quoted at $0.6876, compared to $0.6873 on Wednesday.

On Wall Street, stocks closed higher on Wednesday following news that China is granting tariff exemptions for 16 types of American-made products as a sign of goodwill ahead of the next round of trade talks. Stocks also benefited from optimism about new global stimulus ahead of the European Central Bank's monetary policy decision on Thursday as well as next week's Federal Reserve meeting.

The Dow advanced 227.61 points or 0.9 percent to 27,137.04, the Nasdaq jumped 85.52 points or 1.1 percent to 8,169.68 and the S&P 500 climbed 21.54 points or 0.7 percent to 3,000.93.

The major European markets also moved to the upside on Wednesday. While the U.K.'s FTSE 100 Index shot up by 1 percent, German DAX Index climbed by 0.7 percent and the French CAC 40 Index rose by 0.4 percent.

Crude oil prices declined sharply on Wednesday as a downward revision in OPEC's oil demand forecast and speculation that the U.S. may ease sanctions on Iran outweighed data showing a larger than expected drop in U.S. crude stockpiles last week. WTI crude for October ended down $1.65 or about 2.9 percent at $55.75 a barrel, the lowest settlement since September 3.

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