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Australian Market Rebounds

The Australian stock market is rebounding on Thursday after two days of steep losses following the positive cues overnight from Wall Street amid renewed optimism about a U.S.-China trade deal. Tech and mining stocks are among the major gainers.

The benchmark S&P/ASX 200 Index is adding 62.60 points or 0.95 percent to 6,669.10, after touching a high of 6676.50 earlier. The broader All Ordinaries Index is advancing 63.70 points or 0.95 percent to 6,778.10. Australian stocks closed sharply lower on Wednesday.

In the tech space, Afterpay Touch Group is rising almost 4 percent, WiseTech Global is gaining more than 2 percent and Appen is higher by almost 2 percent.

The major miners are also higher. Fortescue Metals is higher by more than 2 percent, BHP is advancing more than 1 percent and Rio Tinto is rising 1 percent each.

Whitehaven Coal cut its coal production forecast for 2020, while raising its unit cost projections for the year due to unanticipated productivity losses at its largest operations and drought conditions in NSW. The coal miner's shares are losing more than 8 percent.

In the banking space, National Australia Bank is advancing more than 1 percent, Commonwealth Bank is rising 1 percent and Westpac is adding 0.6 percent.

ANZ Banking's shares are in a trading halt as the Reserve Bank of New Zealand announced higher capital requirements for banks in the country.

Oil stocks are also advancing after crude oil prices jumped overnight. Santos is gaining more than 4 percent, Woodside Petroleum is rising more than 2 percent and Oil Search is higher by almost 2 percent.

Gold miners are weak after gold prices slipped overnight. Newcrest Mining is lower by more than 1 percent and Evolution Mining is down 0.4 percent.

Caltex Australia said it has agreed to sell 25 of its petrol stations for about A$136 million, while contracts for the sale of another 25 petrol stations are close to being finalised. The fuel importer and retailer's shares are adding 0.4 percent.

Metcash slipped to a loss in the first half of the year, reflecting a non-cash impairment charge following the loss of its 7-Eleven supply contract. The food and beverage wholesaler's shares are declining almost 2 percent.

Coles Group will pay more than A$5 million to an Australian dairy cooperative after the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission probed allegations the supermarket giant failed to pass on to farmers the full benefit of a 10-cent per liter price hike for its Coles-branded milk. The company's shares are rising 0.5 percent.

Shares of Bellamy's Australia are higher by 0.6 percent ahead of an official vote by its shareholders today on a proposed A$1.5 billion takeover of the company by China Mengniu Dairy Company.

In economic news, Australia will release October figures for trade balance and retail sales today.

In the currency market, the Australian dollar is higher against the U.S. dollar on Thursday. The local currency was quoted at $0.6850, up from $0.6846 on Wednesday.

On Wall Street, stocks regained some ground on Wednesday after a report from Bloomberg News indicated the U.S. and China are moving closer to agreeing on the amount of tariffs that would be rolled back in a phase one trade deal. Citing people familiar with the talks, Bloomberg said U.S. negotiators expect a phase one deal to be completed before U.S. tariffs are set to rise on December 15. The optimism about a trade deal helped offset negative sentiment generated by some disappointing economic data, including a report from payroll processor ADP showing much weaker than expected private sector job growth in the month of November.

The Dow climbed 146.97 points or 0.5 percent to 27,649.78, the Nasdaq rose 46.03 points or 0.5 percent to 8,566.67 and the S&P 500 advanced 19.56 points or 0.6 percent to 3,112.76.

The major European markets also moved mostly higher on Wednesday. While the U.K.'s FTSE 100 Index rose by 0.4 percent. The German DAX Index and the French CAC 40 Index jumped by 1.2 percent and 1.3 percent, respectively.

Crude oil prices showed a substantial move to the upside during trading on Wednesday as traders looked ahead to the start of OPEC's biannual meeting in Vienna on Thursday and after a report from the Energy Information Administration showed a steeper than expected weekly drop in crude oil inventories. WTI crude for January delivery spiked $2.33 or 4.2 percent to $58.43 a barrel.

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