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Australian Market Slightly Higher

The Australian stock market is slightly higher in choppy trading on Wednesday, extending the gains in the previous session, with the benchmark S&P/ASX 200 staying above the 7,400 level, following the mostly positive cues overnight from Wall Street, with gains in energy and financial stocks partially offset by weakness in gold mining and technology stocks.

The benchmark S&P/ASX 200 Index is gaining 5.40 points or 0.07 percent to 7,416.00, after touching a high of 7,419.90 and a low of 7,381.80 earlier. The broader All Ordinaries Index is down 1.90 points or 0.03 percent to 7,739.80. Australian stocks ended notably higher on Tuesday.

Among major miners, BHP Group is gaining almost 1 percent and Fortescue Metals is adding more than 1 percent, while OZ Minerals is losing almost 1 percent and Mineral Resources is edging down 0.5 percent. Rio Tinto is flat.

Oil stocks are mostly higher. Woodside Petroleum and Beach energy are gaining more than 2 percent each, while Santos is adding almost 2 percent, Oil Search is rising more than 1 percent and Origin Energy is advancing almost 1 percent.

In the tech space, WiseTech Global is losing almost 3 percent, Xero is edging down 0.4 percent, Afterpay is declining more than 1 percent and Appen is slipping almost 2 percent.

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

Among gold miners, Newcrest Mining and Resolute Mining are declining more than 2 percent each, while Gold Road Resources is losing more than 1 percent, Evolution Mining is slipping almost 2 percent and Northern Star Resources is down 1.5 percent.

Shares in Technology One are plunging more than 9 percent despite the enterprise software company reported net profit and revenue for the full year that increased and declared a final dividend.

In economic news, the total value of construction work done in Australia was down a seasonally adjusted 0.3 percent on quarter in the third quarter of 2021, the Australian Burau of Statistics said on Wednesday - coming in at A$53.926 billion. That beat forecasts for a decline of 3.1 percent following the 0.8 percent increase in the three months prior. On a yearly basis, the value of overall construction work done increased 3.5 percent.

In the currency market, the Aussie dollar is trading at $0.722 on Wednesday.

On Wall Street, stocks once again moved in opposite directions during trading on Tuesday, closing mixed for the fourth consecutive session. While the Nasdaq extended the sharp pullback seen in the previous session, the Dow and the S&P 500 moved to the upside.

The Nasdaq climbed well off its worst levels of the day but still closed down 79.62 points or 0.5 percent at 15,775.14. Meanwhile, the Dow climbed 194.55 points or 0.6 percent to 35,813.80 and the S&P 500 rose 7.76 points or 0.2 percent at 4,690.70.

Meanwhile, European stocks moved mostly lower over the course of the session. The German DAX Index slumped by 1.1 percent and the French CAC 40 Index slid by 0.9 percent, although the U.K.'s FTSE 100 Index bucked the downtrend and inched up by 0.2 percent.

Crude oil futures settled sharply higher on Tuesday, rebounding strongly from earlier losses over the outlook for energy demand due to rising coronavirus cases in Europe, and plans by the U.S. to release oil from the Strategic Petroleum Reserve. West Texas Intermediate Crude oil futures for January still ended higher by $1.75 or 2.3 percent at $78.50 a barrel.

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