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Australian Market Significantly Higher

The Australian stock market is significantly higher on Wednesday, recouping the losses in the previous session, with the benchmark S&P/ASX 200 staying below the 7,500 level, following the broadly positive cues overnight from Wall Street, with strong gains across most sectors amid higher a sharp overnight rally in commodity prices and as traders digest US Fed Chair Powell's comments. Technology stocks also extended their gains.

However, the upside is limited as the country's Covid-19 infections hovered near record levels.

Domestically, New South Wales reported 34,759 new cases and 21 deaths on Tuesday and Victoria also reported 40,127 new cases and 21 deaths. Queensland recorded 22,069 new cases and Tasmania reported 1,583 new cases.

The benchmark S&P/ASX 200 Index is gaining 41.40 points or 0.56 percent to 7,431.50, after touching a high of 7,467.50 earlier. The broader All Ordinaries Index is down 45.50 points or 0.59 percent to 7,756.20. Australian stocks ended notably lower on Tuesday.

Among major miners, BHP Group is gaining almost 2 percent and, OZ Minerals is adding almost 1 percent and Mineral Resources is advancing more than 1 percent, while Fortescue Metals is losing more than 1 percent and Rio Tinto is flat.

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

In the tech space, WiseTech Global is gaining almost 2 percent, Zip is adding almost 4 percent, Afterpay is advancing more than 5 percent, Appen is rising 4.5 percent and Xero is up 2.5 percent.

Afterpay shares jumped after receiving approval from the Bank of Spain for its $29 billion buyout by payments firm Block Inc., making the deal fully unconditional.

Among the big four banks, ANZ Banking, Westpac and National Australia Bank are flat, while Commonwealth Bank is edging down 0.1 percent.

Among gold miners, Newcrest Mining and Northern Star Resources are adding almost 4 percent each, while Evolution Mining is advancing more than 4 percent, Resolute Mining is up 0.6 percent, Newcrest Mining is losing more than 1 percent and Gold Road Resources is gaining more than 2 percent.

In the currency market, the Aussie dollar is trading at $0.721 on Wednesday.

On Wall Street, stocks showed a significant turnaround over the course of the trading day on Tuesday after moving to the downside early in the session. The major averages extended the recovery seen in the previous session, with the tech-heavy Nasdaq posting a particularly strong gain.

The major averages moved roughly sideways going into the close, hovering in positive territory. While the Nasdaq surged 210.62 points or 1.4 percent at 15,153.45, the S&P 500 advanced 42.78 points or 0.9 percent to 4,713.07 and the Dow rose 183.15 points or 0.5 percent at 36,252.02.

The major European markets also showed a notable rebound following recent weakness. While the U.K.'s FTSE 100 Index rose by 0.6 percent, the French CAC 40 Index and the German DAX Index jumped by 1 percent and 1.1 percent, respectively.

Crude oil prices moved sharply higher Tuesday, lifting the most active crude futures contract to the highest settlement in about two months. Hopes that the spread of the Omicron variant will not derail the global economy and adversely impact energy demand supported oil prices. West Texas Intermediate crude oil futures for February spiked $2.99 or 3.8 percent at $81.22 a barrel.

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