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Australian Market Rises

The Australian stock market is rising on Thursday despite the mixed cues overnight from Wall Street amid a lack of progress on the U.S.-China trade front. Investors also shrugged off weak earnings results from National Australia Bank. Banks and tech stocks are among the leading gainers.

The benchmark S&P/ASX 200 Index is advancing 43.30 points or 0.65 percent to 6,703.50, while the broader All Ordinaries Index is adding 42.30 points or 0.62 percent to 6,815.50. Australian stocks closed lower on Wednesday.

In the banking space, ANZ Banking is up 0.2 percent, Westpac Banking is adding 1 percent and Commonwealth Bank is advancing more than 1 percent.

National Australia Bank reported a 10.6 percent decrease in full-year cash profit and said it will pay a reduced final dividend. However, the bank's shares are gaining more than 2 percent.

Xero reported a turnaround to profit in the first half of the year on a 32 percent surge in revenues. The cloud accounting software company's shares are gaining more than 6 percent.

Among other tech stocks, WiseTech Global is rising almost 4 percent and Altium is higher by more than 3 percent.

Among gold miners, Evolution Mining is adding 0.5 percent and Newcrest Mining is higher by more than 1 percent after gold prices rebounded overnight.

Meanwhile, the major miners are lower. BHP Billiton and Fortescue Metals are declining 0.7 percent each, while Rio Tinto is down 0.3 percent.

Oil stocks are also weak after crude oil prices snapped a three-day winning streak to close lower overnight. Oil Search and Santos are declining more than 1 percent, while Woodside Petroleum is down 0.5 percent.

Flight Centre Travel Group said its profit for the first four months of the financial year was "well down" on the same period last year, while total transaction value increased. Shares of the company are losing more than 5 percent.

In economic news, the Australian Bureau of Statistics said that Australia posted a seasonally adjusted merchandise trade surplus of A$7.180 billion in September, up 9 percent on month. That handily exceeded forecasts for a surplus of A$5.050 billion following the upwardly revised A$6.617 billion surplus in August.

Exports were up A$1.452 billion or 3.0 percent on month to A$43.215 billion, while imports gained A$889 million or 3.0 percent on month to A$36.034 billion.

The latest survey from the Australian Industry Group showed that the construction sector in Australia continued to contract in October, albeit at a slightly slower rate, with a seasonally adjusted Performance of Construction Index score of 43.9. That's up from 42.6 in September, although it remains well beneath the boom-or-bust line of 50 that separates expansion from contraction.

In the currency market, the Australian dollar is lower against the U.S. dollar on Thursday. The local currency was quoted at $0.6881, down from $0.6898 on Wednesday.

On Wall Street, stocks closed mixed on Wednesday in choppy trading as traders seemed to be looking for more concrete developments on the U.S.-China trade front. Stocks moved to the downside after a report from Reuters said a meeting between President Donald Trump and Chinese President Xi Jinping could be delayed until December, although selling pressure waned shortly afterward.

While the S&P 500 inched up 2.16 points or 0.1 percent to 3,076.78, the Dow edged down 0.07 points or less than a tenth of a percent to 27,492.56 and the Nasdaq dipped 24.05 points or 0.3 percent to 8,410.63.

The major European markets moved modestly higher on the day. While the French CAC 40 Index rose by 0.3 percent, the German DAX Index and the U.K.'s FTSE 100 Index inched up by 0.2 percent and 0.1 percent, respectively.

Crude oil prices drifted lower on Wednesday, snapping a three-day winning streak, after data from Energy Information Administration showed a much larger than expected increase in crude inventories in the week ended November 1. WTI crude for December delivery slumped $0.88 or about 1.5 percent to $56.35 a barrel.

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