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Australian Market Modestly Higher

The Australian stock market is modestly higher on Monday, extending the gains in the previous two sessions, with the benchmark S&P/ASX 200 just below the 7,400 level, following the broadly positive cues from Wall Street on Friday, with energy and financial stocks providing support, partially offset by gold miners and technology stocks.

Meanwhile, the domestic coronavirus situation, particularly in Victoria, remains a concern, though the lockdowns are being lifted.

Victoria recorded 1,903 new locally acquired cases and seven deaths on Sunday, with the total active cases of COVID-19 across Victoria standing at 22,327. NSW reported 265 new locally acquired cases and five deaths.

The benchmark S&P/ASX 200 Index is gaining 28.20 points or 0.38 percent to 7,390.20, after touching a high of 7,393.80 and a low of 7,354.10 earlier. The broader All Ordinaries Index is up 28.00 points or 0.37 percent to 7,702.20. Australian stocks closed significantly higher on Friday.

Among the major miners, Rio Tinto is gaining almost 1 percent and OZ Minerals is adding almost 4 percent, while Mineral Resources and Fortescue Metals are edging up 0.2 percent each. BHP Group is edging down 0.3 percent

Oil stocks are mostly higher, with Oil Search gaining almost 2 percent, Beach energy adding almost 3 percent and Santos higher by more than 1 percent. Woodside Petroleum is up almost 1 percent. Origin Energy is losing almost 1 percent.

Among tech stocks, Afterpay, Xero and WiseTech Global are losing almost 1 percent each, while Appen is edging down 0.4 percent.

Gold miners are mostly lower. Resolute Mining and Northern Star Resources are losing almost 3 percent each, while Newcrest Mining edging down 0.2 percent and Gold Road Resources is down almost 2 percent. Evolution Mining is declining more than 3 percent.

Among the big four banks, National Australia Bank is edging up 0.5 percent and Westpac is gaining almost 1 percent, while ANZ Banking and Commonwealth Bank are adding more than 1 percent each.

Shares in Senex Energy are soaring more than 14 percent after South Korea's POSCO International sweetened its offer for the natural gas company to $814.8 million.

Aristocrat Leisure stock was halted in the morning as it made a $5 billion acquisition offer for U.K. gaming software company Playtech.

In the currency market, the Aussie dollar is trading at $0.741 on Monday.

On Wall Street, stocks moved mostly higher during trading on Friday, extending the rally seen over the course of Thursday's session. With the continued upward move, the Dow and the S&P 500 reached new one-month closing highs.

The major averages all closed firmly positive, although the Dow outperformed its counterparts. The Dow shot up 382.20 points or 1.1 percent to 35,294.76, while the Nasdaq rose 73.91 points or 0.5 percent to 14,897.34 and the S&P 500 climbed 33.11 points or 0.1 percent to 4,471.37.

The major European markets also moved to the upside on the day. While the German DAX Index advanced by 0.8 percent, the French CAC 40 Index and the U.K.'s FTSE 100 Index climbed by 0.6 percent and 0.4 percent, respectively.

Crude oil futures settled notably higher Friday after the International Energy Agency said oil demand is likely to increase significantly due to the energy crunch supporting prices. West Texas Intermediate Crude oil futures for November rose $0.97 or 1.2 percent at $82.28 a barrel. For the week, WTI Crude oil futures gained 3.7 percent, surging for the eighth straight week.

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