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Australian Market Notably Higher

The Australian stock market is notably higher on Friday, extending the modest gains in the previous session, with the benchmark S&P/ASX 200 moving above the 7,300 level, following the firmly positive cues overnight from Wall Street, on a U.S. debt limit agreement, upbeat economic news and a spike in crude oil prices. The upside is limited as the country struggles to contain the domestic coronavirus situation, primarily in New South Wales and Victoria.

Victoria reported a record 1,838 new locally acquired cases and five deaths on Thursday, with active cases now totalling 16,823 across the state. NSW has reported 646 new local cases of COVID-19 and eleven deaths.

The benchmark S&P/ASX 200 Index is gaining 56.20 points or 0.77 percent to 7,312.90, after touching a high of 7,322.00 earlier. The broader All Ordinaries Index is up 59.80 points or 0.79 percent to 7,611.00. Australian markets ended notably higher on Thursday.

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

Oil stocks are mostly higher. Oil Search and Woodside Petroleum are edging up 0.2 percent each, while Origin Energy and Santos are gaining almost 1 percent each. Beach energy is adding more than 1 percent.

Among tech stocks, Xero is gaining more than 1 percent, Appen is adding almost 1 percent and Afterpay is rising more than 2 percent, while WiseTech Global is edging down 0.3 percent.

Among the big four banks, ANZ Banking is edging down 0.3 percent and Westpac is losing almost 1 percent, while National Australia Bank is edging up 0.1 percent. Commonwealth Bank is flat.

Gold miners are mixed. Newcrest Mining is edging up 0.3 percent, while Evolution Mining and Northern Star Resources are adding more than 1 percent each. Resolute Mining is losing more than 1 percent, while Gold Road Resources is flat.

In economic news, the total number of building permits issued in Australia was up a seasonally adjusted 6.8 percent on month in August, the Australian Bureau of Statistics said in Friday's final reading - coming in at 18,716. That was unrevised from last week's preliminary reading following the 8.6 percent contraction in July. On a yearly basis, building permits were up 31.2 percent. The total value of building approvals was up 20.3 percent on month in August.

In the currency market, the Aussie dollar is trading at $0.732 on Friday.

On Wall Street, stocks moved notably higher during trading on Thursday, extending the upward move seen over the course of the previous session. The major averages closed higher for the third consecutive session following the steep drop seen on Monday.

The major averages pulled back off their best levels in afternoon trading but remained firmly positive. The Dow jumped 337.95 points or 1 percent to 34,754.94, the Nasdaq surged up 152.10 points or 1.1 percent to 14,654.02 and the S&P 500 advanced 36.21 points or 0.8 percent to 4,399.76.

The major European markets also showed strong moves to the upside. While the U.K.'s FTSE 100 Index jumped by 1.2 percent, the French CAC 40 Index and the German DAX Index surged up by 1.7 percent and 1.9 percent, respectively.

Crude oil prices advanced Thursday, rebounding from losses in the previous session, on reports the U.S. Energy Department is unlikely to tap the nation's Strategic Petroleum Reserve. West Texas Intermediate Crude oil futures for November ended up $0.87 or 1.1 percent at $78.30 a barrel.

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