Australian Market Slightly Higher

The Australian stock market is slightly higher on Monday, extending the gains in the previous three sessions, with the benchmark S&P/ASX 200 breaking above the 7,400 level, following the broadly negative cues from Wall Street on Friday. The market is supported by materials stocks. Traders remain concerned as the nation's the biggest cities are under strict lockdown amid the resurgence in coronavirus cases.

The local COVID situation has deteriorated badly over the last two weeks, while New South Wales reporting 145 new cases on Sunday, while Victoria is down to 11 cases. Victoria's lockdown is due to end at midnight Tuesday, while there is no end date to the Sydney lockdown yet.

The benchmark S&P/ASX 200 Index is gaining 11.00 points or 0.15 percent to 7,405.40, after touching a high of 7,417.60 earlier. The broader All Ordinaries Index is up 12.20 points or 0.16 percent to 7,683.10. Australian stocks closed marginally higher on Friday.

Among the major miners, BHP Group, Fortescue Metals and Rio Tinto are gaining more than 1 percent each, while Mineral Resources adding almost 2 percent, OZ Minerals is up almost 3 percent.

Shares in Lynas Rare Earths are surging almost 8 percent after the company reported record sales revenue of $185.9 million for the June quarter on strong ore prices despite production issues.

Oil stocks are lower, with oil Search and Origin Energy losing almost 1 percent each, while Woodside Petroleum and Santos are down more than 1 percent each. Beach energy is edging down 0.4 percent.

Among tech stocks, Afterpay is losing almost 2 percent and Appen is losing more than 1 percent, while Xero is gaining more than 1 percent and WiseTech Global is edging up 0.4 percent.

Gold miners are lower. Evolution Mining is losing more than 3 percent, while Northern Star Resources and Gold Road Resources are down almost 2 percent each. Newcrest Mining is lower by more than 1 percent. Resolute Mining is declining more than 4 percent.

Among the big four banks, Commonwealth Bank, ANZ Banking, Westpac and National Australia Bank are all edging down 0.2 percent each.

In other news, shares in Cann Group is plunging almost 12 percent after the cannabis producer revealed plans for a fund raise from institutional investors at a discount.

Commercial property giant GPT Group has withdrawn its 2021 guidance amid COVID uncertainty amidst the rolling lockdowns in Melbourne and Sydney. The stock is down more than 3 percent.

In the currency market, the Aussie dollar is trading at $0.735 on Monday.

On Wall Street, stocks showed a strong move to the upside during trading on Friday, extending the rebound from the steep drop seen on Monday. With the continued advance, the major averages all reached new record closing highs.

The major averages finished the session just off their highs of the day. The Dow climbed 238.20 points or 0.7 percent to 35,061.55, the Nasdaq surged up 152.39 points or 1 percent to 14,836.99 and the S&P 500 jumped 44.31 points or 1 percent to 4,411.79.

The major European markets all also moved notably higher on the day. While the French CAC 40 Index surged up by 1.4 percent, the German DAX Index jumped by 1 percent and the U.K.'s FTSE 100 Index advanced by 0.9 percent.

Crude oil futures settled modestly higher on Friday, extending gains to a fourth straight session on hopes demand will see a significant increase in coming months. West Texas Intermediate Crude oil futures for September ended up by $0.16 or 0.2 percent at $72.07 a barrel. WTI Crude futures gained 0.4 percent in the week.

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