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Australian Market Modestly Higher

Australian stock market is modestly higher on Friday, recouping some of the sharp losses in the previous session, with the benchmark S&P/ASX 200 just below the 7,400 level, ignoring the broadly negative cues overnight from Wall Street, boosted by gains across all sectors, even as the country struggles to contain the domestic coronavirus situation, primarily in New South Wales and Victoria.

NSW has reported 1,542 new local cases of COVID-19 and nine deaths on Thursday. Victoria recorded 334 new locally acquired cases and one death, with active cases now totalling 2,426 across the state.

The benchmark S&P/ASX 200 Index is gaining 27.50 points or 0.37 percent to 7,397.00, after touching a high of 7,430.00 earlier. The broader All Ordinaries Index is up 36.90 points or 0.48 percent to 7,695.80. Australian markets ended sharply lower on Thursday.

Among major miners, BHP Group and Rio Tinto are edging up 0.5 percent each, while Mineral Resources is gaining more than 3 percent, OZ Minerals is adding more than 2 percent and Fortescue Metals is up more than 1 percent.

Oil stocks are higher. Beach energy is gaining 1.5 percent, Woodside Petroleum is edging up 0.2 percent and Origin Energy is rising more than 1 percent. Meanwhile, Oil Search and Santos are in a trading halt.

Among tech stocks, Xero is gaining almost 1 percent and Appen is edging up 0.4 percent, while WiseTech Global and Afterpay are flat.

Among the big four banks, ANZ Banking and National Australia Bank are edging up 0.4 percent each, while Westpac and Commonwealth Bank are gaining almost 1 percent each.

Gold miners are higher. Newcrest Mining, Gold Road Resources, Northern Star Resources and Evolution Mining are gaining almost 1 percent each, while Resolute Mining is edging up 0.5 percent.

In the currency market, the Aussie dollar is trading at $0.737 on Friday.

On Wall Street, stocks moved mostly lower over the course of the trading session on Thursday after failing to sustain an early move to the upside. The major averages pulled back well off their early highs and into negative territory.

The major averages all finished the day in the red, with the Dow and the S&P 500 closing lower for the fourth straight session. The Dow fell 151.69 points or 0.4 percent to 34,879.38, the Nasdaq dipped 38.38 points or 0.3 percent to 15,248.25 and the S&P 500 slid 20.79 points or 0.5 percent to 4,493.28.

Meanwhile, the major European markets turned in a mixed performance following the ECB announcement. While the U.K.'s FTSE 100 Index slumped by 1 percent, the German DAX Index and the French CAC 40 Index inched up by 0.1 percent and 0.2 percent, respectively.

Crude oil futures settled sharply lower Thursday, weighed down by reports that China is looking to release some crude stock from its national reserve. West Texas Intermediate Crude oil futures for October ended down by $1.16 or 1.7 percent at $68.14 a barrel.

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