Australian Market Slightly Higher

The Australian stock market is slightly higher in choppy trading on Monday, recouping some of the losses in the previous session, with the benchmark S&P/ASX 200 just above the 7,400 level, following the mixed cues from Wall Street on Friday, boosted by gains in energy stocks amid a spike in crude oil prices. Materials and gold mining stocks were weak on a slump in iron ore and gold prices.

Meanwhile, traders remain concerned over the domestic Covid-19 cases, though the daily new cases are on the decline. New South Wales reported 29,504 new cases and 17 deaths on Thursday and Victoria also reported 22,429 new cases and six deaths. Queensland recorded 15,122 new cases and seven deaths and Tasmania reported 1,037 new cases.

The benchmark S&P/ASX 200 Index is gaining 9.40 points or 0.13 percent to 7,403.30, after touching a high 7,418.40 and a low of 7,385.80 earlier. The broader All Ordinaries Index is up 7.50 points or 0.10 percent to 7,724.50. Australian stocks closed sharply lower on Friday.

Among the major miners, Rio Tinto and Mineral Resources are losing almost 1 percent each, while BHP Group is edging down 0.3 percent and Fortescue Metals is declining 2.5 percent. OZ Minerals is slipping almost 2 percent.

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

Among tech stocks, Appen is edging up 0.1 percent and WiseTech Global is gaining almost 3 percent, while Afterpay is edging down 0.5 percent and Xero is slipping almost 1 percent.

Gold miners are lower. Evolution Mining is losing almost 1 percent, Gold Road Resources is edging down 0.3 percent, Northern Star Resources is declining more than 2 percent and Newcrest Mining is slipping more than 1 percent, while Resolute Mining is edging up 0.5 percent.

Among the big four banks, Commonwealth Bank and ANZ Banking are edging up 0.5 percent each, while National Australia Bank is flat. Westpac is edging up 0.2 percent.

In the currency market, the Aussie dollar is trading at $0.720 on Monday.

On Wall Street, stocks fluctuated over the course of the trading day on Friday before ending the session mixed. While the Dow showed a notable move to the downside, the tech-heavy Nasdaq bounced off a three-month closing low.

The major averages finished the day on opposite sides of the unchanged line. The Dow fell 201.81 points or 0.6 percent to 35,911.91, but the Nasdaq climbed 86.94 points or 0.6 percent to 14,893.75 and the S&P 500 inched up 3.82 points or 0.1 percent to 4,662.85.

Meanwhile, the major European markets moved to the downside on the day. While the U.K.'s FTSE 100 Index fell by 0.3 percent, the German DAX Index and the French CAC 40 Index slid by 0.8 percent and 0.9 percent, respectively.

Crude oil prices showed a strong move back to the upside during trading on Friday. The rebound came as traders remain optimistic about the outlook for energy demand despite worldwide surge in coronavirus cases. West Texas Intermediate Crude oil futures for February surged $1.70 or 2 percent to $83.82 a barrel. WTI Crude futures gained 4.1 percent in the week, reaching its highest level in over two months.

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