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Australian Market Extends Gains

The Australian stock market is rising on Friday, extending gains from the previous session despite the mixed cues overnight from Wall Street. Investors digested news that the U.S. and Chinese deputy trade negotiators have resumed face-to-face talks for the first time in almost two months on Thursday.

The benchmark S&P/ASX 200 Index is adding 48.10 points or 0.72 percent to 6,765.60, after rising to a high of 6,771.10 earlier. The broader All Ordinaries Index is up 48.60 points or 0.71 percent to 6,873.80. Australian stocks closed higher on Thursday.

The big four banks - ANZ Banking, National Australia Bank, Commonwealth Bank and Westpac - are higher in a range of 0.3 percent to 0.5 percent.

In the oil space, Santos is advancing almost 1 percent, Woodside Petroleum is adding 0.5 percent and Oil Search is up 0.3 percent after crude oil prices edged up overnight.

Gold miner Evolution Mining is rising almost 2 percent and Newcrest Mining is higher by more than 1 percent even as gold prices declined overnight.

The major miners are mostly lower. Fortescue Metals is declining more than 1 percent and Rio Tinto is down 0.4 percent, while BHP Billiton is adding 0.5 percent.

Premier Investments reported a nearly 28 percent increase in full-year profit on higher revenues and increased its final dividend. The conglomerate's shares are gaining almost 14 percent.

Pushpay Holdings has raised its earnings outlook for the year to March 31 on cost efficiency improvements. The New Zealand-based mobile app payments developer's shares are advancing more than 1 percent.

In the currency market, the Australian dollar is higher against the U.S. dollar on Friday. The local currency was quoted at $0.6795, compared to $0.6781 on Thursday.

On Wall Street, stocks closed mixed for the second straight day on Thursday amid continued uncertainty about the outlook for interest rates following the Federal Reserve's monetary policy announcement on Wednesday. The Fed lowered interest by 25 basis points as expected but indicated officials are mixed about whether the central bank should cut rates again before the end of the year.

While the Dow dipped 52.29 points or 0.2 percent to 27,094.79, the Nasdaq inched up 5.49 points or 0.1 percent to 8,182.88 and the S&P 500 crept up 0.06 points or less than a tenth of a percent to 3,006.79.

The major European markets moved to the upside on Thursday. While the French CAC 40 Index advanced by 0.7 percent, the U.K.'s FTSE 100 Index and the German DAX Index both rose by 0.6 percent.

Crude oil futures settled just marginally up on Thursday, despite moving up sharply early on in the session. WTI crude for October ended up by $0.02 at $58.13 a barrel.

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