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Australian Market Rises

The Australian stock market is rising on Wednesday following the positive cues overnight from Wall Street despite the continued spike in new coronavirus cases in several U.S. states and across the world. Data showing that Australia's manufacturing sector swung into expansion territory in June boosted sentiment.

The benchmark S&P/ASX 200 Index is advancing 28.80 points or 0.49 percent to 5,926.70, after touching a low of 5,892.80 earlier. The broader All Ordinaries Index is adding 34.70 points or 0.58 percent to 6,036.00. Australian stocks closed higher on Tuesday.

Gold miners are notably higher after gold prices ended at a nearly nine-year high overnight. Evolution Mining is gaining more than 3 percent and Newcrest Mining is rising more than 2 percent.

Meanwhile, the major miners are little changed. Rio Tinto and BHP are edging up 0.1 percent, while Fortescue Metals is down 0.1 percent.

Oil stocks are weak after crude oil prices declined overnight. Santos is losing more than 1 percent, Woodside Petroleum is lower by 0.7 percent and Oil Search is declining 0.3 percent each.

In the banking sector, Commonwealth Bank, ANZ Banking, National Australia Bank and Westpac are lower in a range of 0.1 percent to 0.7 percent.

AMP Ltd. said it has completed the sale of its life insurance business, AMP Life, to New Zealand-based Resolution Life for A$3 billion. Shares of AMP are rising almost 2 percent.

Suncorp Group has announced certain management changes, saying that Chief Customer & Digital Officer Lisa Harrison has been promoted to the Chief Executive insurance product and portfolio role, while Paul Smeaton has been appointed as chief operating officer insurance. The insurance and banking company's shares are adding 0.2 percent.

Temple & Webster's shares are in a trading halt after the online furniture shop said it is raising A$40 million through an institutional placement.

On the economic front, the latest survey from the Australian Industry Group revealed that the manufacturing sector in Australia swung into expansion territory in June, with a seasonally adjusted Performance of Manufacturing Index score of 51.5. That's up from 41.6 in May, and it moves back above the boom-or-bust line of 50 that separates expansion from contraction.

In the currency market, the Australian dollar is higher against the U.S. dollar on Wednesday. The local unit was quoted at $0.6902, compared to $0.6854 on Tuesday.

On Wall Street, stocks capped off one of the best quarters for the markets in decades, with the Dow soaring by 17.8 percent for its biggest quarterly gain since 1987. Traders continued to express optimism about the economic outlook despite the continued spike in new coronavirus cases across several states. Adding to the positive sentiment, the Conference Board released a report showing a bigger than expected improvement in consumer confidence in the month of June.

The Dow jumped 217.08 points or 0.9 percent to 25,812.88, the Nasdaq spiked 184.61 points or 1.9 percent to 10,058.77 and the S&P 500 surged up 47.05 points or 1.5 percent to 3,100.29.

Meanwhile, the major European markets turned in a mixed performance on the day. The German DAX Index rose by 0.6 percent, while the French CAC 40 Index fell by 0.2 percent and the U.K.'s FTSE 100 Index slumped by 0.9 percent.

Crude oil prices drifted lower on Tuesday as worries about the outlook for energy demand persisted due to a continued surge in new coronavirus cases across the world. WTI crude for August declined $0.43 or 1.1 percent at $39.27 a barrel.

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