Australian Market Notably Higher

The Australian stock market is notably higher on Thursday, extending the gains in the previous session, with the benchmark S&P/ASX 200 just below the 7,500 level, following the positive cues overnight from Wall Street, with gains across most sectors, except technology. The upside is limited as traders digested the latest US inflation data and remained concerned about the sharp spike in domestic new coronavirus infections.

New South Wales records 92,264 new cases and 22 deaths on Wednesday. Victoria reported 37,169 new cases and 25 deaths. Queensland recorded 14,914 new cases and six deaths, Tasmania reported 1,100 new cases and ACT reported 1,020 new cases.

The benchmark S&P/ASX 200 Index is gaining 41.70 points or 0.56 percent to 7,480.60, after touching a high of 7,484.10 earlier. The broader All Ordinaries Index is up 42.40 points or 0.55 percent to 7,804.60. Australian markets ended notably higher on Wednesday.

Among major miners, BHP Group is gaining more than 3 percent, OZ Minerals is up 1.5 percent, Rio Tinto is advancing more than 2 percent, Fortescue Metals is adding more than 1 percent and Mineral Resources is rising almost 3 percent.

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

Among the big four banks, Commonwealth Bank and ANZ Banking are edging up 0.5 percent each, while National Australia Bank is gaining almost 1 percent and Westpac is edging up 0.3 percent.

In the tech space, Xero is edging down 0.5 percent, Afterpay is slipping almost 3 percent and Appen is losing more than 3 percent, while WiseTech Global and Zip are down almost 1 percent each.

Gold miners are mostly lower. Newcrest Mining and Northern Star Resources are edging down 0.5 percent each, whileResolute Mining is declining more than 1 percent. Evolution Mining is gaining more than 1 percent and Gold Road Resources is advancing more than 2 percent.

Shares in Crown Resorts are surging more than 8 percent after private equity group Blackstone increased its bid for the casino operator.

In the currency market, the Aussie dollar is trading at $0.728 on Thursday.

On Wall Street, stocks fluctuated after an early move to the upside on Wednesday but managed to finish the session modestly higher. The tech-heavy Nasdaq closed higher for the third straight day after hitting a nearly three-month intraday low on Monday.

The major averages closed well off their highs of the session but still in positive territory. The Dow inched up 38.30 points or 0.1 percent to 36,290.32, the Nasdaq edged up 34.94 points or 0.2 percent to 15,188.39 and the S&P 500 rose 13.28 points or 0.3 percent to 4,726.35.

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

Crude oil prices spiked again on Wednesday, extending the gains from the previous session. Oil prices continued to benefit from optimism about the outlook for energy demand amid indications of tight near-term supply. West Texas Intermediate crude for February delivery jumped $1.42 or 1.7 percent to $82.64 a barrel.

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