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Australian Market Rises

The Australian stock market is rising on Wednesday after U.S. stocks closed higher as investors shrugged off concerns about the economic impact of the deadly coronavirus outbreak. Upbeat earnings results from local companies such as banking giant Commonwealth Bank and biotech company CSL boosted sentiment.

The benchmark S&P/ASX 200 Index is adding 32.50 points or 0.46 percent to 7,087.80, off a high of 7,093.30 earlier. The broader All Ordinaries Index is advancing 33.60 points or 0.47 percent to 7,185.00. Australian shares closed higher on Tuesday.

In the banking space, Commonwealth Bank reported a 34 percent increase in first-half statutory net profit and its cash profit beat analysts' expectations. The bank's shares are rising more than 3 percent.

National Australia Bank is higher by more than 1 percent, Westpac is adding 0.6 percent and ANZ Banking up 0.3 percent.

Meanwhile, the major miners are weak. Rio Tinto and Fortescue Metals are lower by 1 percent each, while BHP is declining almost 1 percent.

Gold miners are also declining after gold prices drifted lower overnight. Newcrest Mining is lower by almost 1 percent and Evolution Mining is edging down 0.1 percent.

Oil stocks are lower even as crude oil prices rebounded overnight. Woodside Petroleum is losing 0.4 percent, Oil Search is declining 0.2 percent and Santos is edging down 0.1 percent.

CSL reported an 11 percent increase in first-half net profit and raised its full-year profit outlook as well as interim dividend. The biotech's shares are advancing almost 1 percent.

Carsales.com said its statutory net profit for the half-year surged more than five-fold and raised its interim dividend. The online vehicle sales company's shares are gaining almost 8 percent.

Computershare recorded a nearly 52 percent plunge in first-half net profit on flat revenue, but held its interim dividend. The stock transfer company's shares are adding 0.3 percent.

Insurance Australia Group or IAG reported a 43 percent decrease in first-half net profit and again lowered its full-year profit outlook. However, shares of the insurance giant are higher by more than 1 percent.

In the currency market, the Australian dollar was quoted at $0.6718 on Wednesday, compared to $0.6716 on Tuesday.

On Wall Street stocks closed modestly higher on Tuesday as traders continued to shrug off concerns about the economic impact of the deadly coronavirus outbreak. Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell said during testimony before the House Financial Services Committee that the central bank is closely monitoring the coronavirus outbreak, but also highlighted the resilience of the U.S. economy.

While the Nasdaq edged up 10.55 points or 0.1 percent to 9,638.94 and the S&P 500 rose 5.66 points or 0.2 percent to 3,357.75, the Dow closed down 0.48 points or less than a tenth of a percent at 29,276.34.

The major European markets also moved to the upside on Tuesday. While the German DAX Index surged up by 1 percent, the U.K.'s FTSE 100 Index and the French CAC 40 Index both climbed 7 percent.

Crude oil prices rose on Tuesday, rebounding from recent losses, on reports the number of new cases infected from the coronavirus is slowing down. WTI crude oil for March ended up $0.37, or about 0.8 percent, at $49.94 a barrel.

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