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Australian Market Rises

The Australian stock market is rising on Thursday following the overnight rally on Wall Street amid continued optimism about an economic recovery as states begin to reopen following the coronavirus-induced lockdowns and on hopes of more stimulus from the Federal Reserve. Oil and mining stocks are higher, while banks declined.

The benchmark S&P/ASX 200 Index is adding 12.70 points or 0.23 percent to 5,585.70, after touching a high of 5610.80 earlier. The broader All Ordinaries Index is up 14.20 points or 0.25 percent to 5,694.30. Australian stocks recovered from an early slide to end modestly higher on Wednesday.

In the oil sector, Santos is higher by more than 3 percent, while Woodside Petroleum and Oil Search are rising more than 1 percent each after crude oil prices rose to a ten-week high overnight.

In the mining space, Rio Tinto is advancing more than 1 percent, Fortescue Metals is adding 0.2 percent and BHP is edging up 0.1 percent.

Meanwhile, the big four banks - Westpac, National Australia Bank, ANZ Banking and Commonwealth Bank of Australia - are lower in a range of 0.1 percent to 0.5 percent.

Gold miners are mixed even as gold prices extended gains overnight. Evolution Mining is adding 0.3 percent, while Newcrest Mining is losing almost 1 percent.

Afterpay Touch Group said it continued to see strong user growth and now has more than five million active shoppers in the U.S. The buy now-pay later company's shares are rising more than 3 percent.

Aristocrat Leisure reported a 14 percent decrease in profit for the first half of the year, as most venues such as casinos and pubs remained closed due to coronavirus restrictions. The gaming provider's shares are losing more than 4 percent.

In the currency market, the Australian dollar is higher against the U.S. dollar on Thursday. The local unit was quoted at $0.6586, compared to Wednesday's close of $0.6543.

On Wall Street, stocks closed sharply higher on Wednesday, partly reflecting continued optimism about an economic recovery as states begin to reopen following the coronavirus-induced lockdowns. Early indications suggest the states that have reopened have not seen a spike in coronavirus cases, which has led to hopes the economy may rebound more quickly than many economists predict. Meanwhile, traders largely shrugged off a report raising doubts about Moderna's potential coronavirus vaccine.

The Dow jumped 369.04 points or 1.5 percent to 24,575.90, the Nasdaq spiked 190.67 points or 2.1 percent to 9,375.78 and the S&P 500 surged up 48.67 points or 1.7 percent to 2,971.61.

The major European markets also moved to the upside on Wednesday. While the German DAX Index surged up by 1.3 percent, the U.K.'s FTSE 100 Index jumped by 1.1 percent and the French CAC 40 Index advanced by 0.9 percent.

Crude oil prices settled at a ten-week high on Wednesday after data showed a drop in crude stockpiles, and amid optimism about a pick-up in energy demand thanks to reopening of businesses in several parts across the globe. WTI crude for July gained $1.53, or about 4.8 percent, at $33.49 a barrel, the highest close since March 10.

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