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Australian Market Advances

The Australian stock market is advancing on Friday following the positive cues overnight from Wall Street on news that U.S. regulators plan to ease banking regulations. The news helped offset worries about the spiking coronavirus cases in a number of U.S. states.

The benchmark S&P/ASX 200 Index is adding 52.80 points or 0.91 percent to 5,870.50, off a high of 5,880.90 earlier. The broader All Ordinaries Index is higher by 53.60 points or 0.90 percent to 5,981.60. Australian stocks hit their lowest level in more than a week on Thursday.

The big four banks are notably higher, following gains by their U.S. peers overnight. ANZ Banking, Westpac, National Australia Bank and Commonwealth Bank are higher in a range of 1.9 percent to 2.5 percent.

Oil stocks are advancing after crude oil prices rose almost 2 percent overnight. Oil Search and Woodside Petroleum are higher by more than 1 percent each, while Santos is rising 0.6 percent.

Among the major miners, BHP is rising more than 1 percent, Fortescue Metals is adding almost 1 percent and Rio Tinto is up 0.6 percent.

Gold miners are also higher even as gold prices declined for a second straight session overnight. Evolution Mining and Newcrest Mining are adding 0.5 percent each.

Qantas Airways said it has raised A$1.36 billion from institutional investors as part of a A$1.9 billion share sale and will raise another A$500 million through a share purchase plan for retail investors. The airline's shares are losing almost 9 percent.

In the currency market, the Australian dollar is higher against the U.S. dollar on Friday. The local unit was quoted at $0.6880, compared to $0.6865 on Thursday.

On Wall Street, stocks closed higher on Thursday, reflecting strength among financial stocks came amid news U.S. regulators plan to ease banking regulations, including allowing banks to more easily make investments in riskier funds such as venture capital funds. Traders were also looking ahead to the release of the results of the Federal Reserve's stress tests after the close of trading.

The Dow shot up 299.66 points or 1.2 percent to 25,745.60, the Nasdaq jumped 107.84 points or 1.1 percent to 10,017.00 and the S&P 500 surged up 33.43 points or 1.1 percent to 3,083.76.

The major European markets also moved to the upside on Thursday. While the French CAC 40 Index jumped by 1 percent, the German DAX Index advanced by 0.7 percent and the U.K.'s FTSE 100 Index rose by 0.4 percent.

Crude oil prices gained on Thursday, recovering from losses in the previous two sessions, despite continued concerns about energy demand outlook in the wake of reports showing a surge in new coronavirus cases. WTI crude for August delivery rose $0.71 or 1.9 percent to $38.72 a barrel.

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