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Australian Market Slightly Higher

The Australian stock market is slightly higher in choppy trading on Wednesday, recouping some of the losses in the previous two sessions, with the benchmark S&P/ASX 200 just below the 7,300 level, ignoring the negative cues overnight from Wall Street, with technology and energy stocks providing the support, partially offset by weakness in financial and materials stocks.

Meanwhile, the domestic coronavirus situation continues to be a concern, particularly in New South Wales and Victoria, which is hindering economic activity. Victoria reported 1,571 new cases of COVID-19 and thirteen deaths on Tuesday, with 19,861 total active cases across Victoria. NSW recorded 444 new local cases and four deaths.

The benchmark S&P/ASX 200 Index is gaining 6.90 points or 0.10 percent to 7,287.60, after touching a high of 7,294.00 and a low of 7,258.50 earlier. The broader All Ordinaries Index is up 13.70 points or 0.18 percent to 7,589.30. Australian stocks ended modestly lower on Tuesday.

Among major miners, BHP Group is edging up 0.2 percent and OZ Minerals is gaining more than 1 percent, while Fortescue Metals and Mineral Resources are losing more than 1 percent each. Rio Tinto is down almost 2 percent.

Oil stocks are higher. Woodside Petroleum is edging up 0.3 percent, while Beach energy and Origin Energy are gaining almost 1 percent each. Oil Search is losing almost 1 percent and Santos is flat.

In the tech space, WiseTech Global and Appen are gaining more than 1 percent each, while Xero is adding almost 2 percent and Afterpay is rising more than 2 percent.

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

Among gold miners, Evolution Mining is gaining almost 2 percent, Northern Star Resources is rising more than 1 percent and Resolute Mining is adding more than 2 percent, while Newcrest Mining and Gold Road Resources are edging up 0.5 percent each.

Shares in Bubs Australia are soaring almost 24 percent after the goat-milk and infant formula maker reported strong first-quarter revenues, despite the disruption and challenges of COVID-19.

Shares in Raphael Geminder's Pact Group are plunging almost 17 percent after it announced the discontinuation of the sales process of its Contract Manufacturing businesses, citing pandemic-related supply chain disruptions.

In the currency market, the Aussie dollar is trading at $0.734 on Wednesday.

On Wall Street, stocks showed a lack of direction throughout the trading day on Tuesday, following the downturn seen over the course of the previous session. The major averages spent most of the session lingering near the unchanged line.

The major averages eventually ended the day modestly lower. The Dow dipped 117.72 points or 0.3 percent to 34,378.34, the Nasdaq edged down 20.28 points or 0.1 percent to 14,465.93 and the S&P 500 slipped 10.54 points or 0.2 percent to 4,350.65.

The major European markets also showed more modest moves to the downside on the day. While the U.K.'s FTSE 100 Index edged down by 0.2 percent, the French CAC 40 Index and the German DAX Index both dipped by 0.3 percent.

Crude oil futures settled slightly higher Tuesday after prices moved up amid speculation the fuel market could get tighter this winter. West Texas Intermediate Crude oil futures for November rose $0.12 or about 0.2 percent at $80.64 a barrel.

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