Australian Market Modestly Higher

The Australian stock market is modestly higher on Tuesday, recouping the losses in the previous session, with the benchmark S&P/ASX 200 moving above the 7,400 level, despite the mostly negative cues from Wall Street overnight, as materials, financials and energy stocks are supporting the market, partially offset by steep losses in gold mining and technology stocks.

The benchmark S&P/ASX 200 Index is gaining 49.10 points or 0.67 percent to 7,402.20, after touching a high of 7,407.90 earlier. The broader All Ordinaries Index is up 40.60 points or 0.53 percent to 7,728.90. Australian stocks closed modestly lower on Monday.

Among the major miners, BHP Group is gaining more than 4 percent, OZ Minerals is up almost 1 percent and Rio Tinto is adding almost 4 percent. Fortescue Metals is surging almost 8 percent and Mineral Resources is rising almost 3 percent.

Oil stocks are higher. Origin Energy is gaining more than 2 percent, Woodside Petroleum is adding almost 4 percent and Oil Search is up almost 2 percent, while Santos and Beach energy are rising almost 3 percent each.

Shares in Woodside Petroleum are gaining after the energy giant announced its $40 billion deal to merge BHP's petroleum assets into Woodside in an all stock merger that had been finalised by boards of both companies.

Among the big four banks, National Australia Bank is gaining almost 1 percent and ANZ Banking is rising more than 2 percent, while Westpac and Commonwealth Bank are adding more than 1 percent each.

Tech stocks followed their peers on Nasdaq. Appen is losing almost 2 percent, Xero is declining almost 3 percent, WiseTech Global is plunging almost 7 percent and Afterpay is sliding more than 5 percent.

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

Shares of Bapcor are plunging more than 8 percent after the auto parts retailer announced that its long-time CEO Darryl Abotomey will retire on 28 February 2022.

In economic news, the manufacturing sector in Australia continued to expand in November, and at a faster pace, the latest survey from Markit Economics showed on Tuesday with a manufacturing PMI score of 58.5. That's up from 58.2 in October and it moves further above the boom-or-bust line of 50 that separates expansion from contraction. The report also showed that the services PMI improved from 51.8 to 55.0 and the composite index also rose to 55.0 from 52.1 in October.

In the currency market, the Aussie dollar is trading at $0.723 on Tuesday.

On Wall Street, stocks came under pressure going into the close of trading on Monday after turning in a mixed performance for much of the session. The Nasdaq slid more firmly into negative territory and the S&P 500 also turned lower, although the narrower Dow managed to cling to a modest gain.

The major averages finished the day mixed for the third consecutive session. While the Dow inched up 17.27 points or 0.1 percent to 35,619.26, the S&P 500 fell 15.02 points or 0.3 percent to 4,682.94 and the Nasdaq tumbled 202.68 points or 1.3 percent to 15,854.76.

The major European markets also closed mixed after showing a lack of direction over the course of the session. While the U.K.'s FTSE 100 Index rose by 0.4 percent, the French CAC 40 Index edged down by 0.1 percent and the German DAX Index dipped by 0.3 percent.

Crude oil futures settled higher Monday despite rising concerns about the outlook for energy demand due to a surge in coronavirus cases in several countries. West Texas Intermediate Crude oil futures for December rose $0.81 or 1.1 percent at $76.75 a barrel.

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