Australian Market Modestly Higher

The Australian stock market is trading modestly higher on Tuesday, extending the gains in the previous session, with the benchmark S&P/ASX 200 above the 7,400 level, despite the lack of cues from Wall Street overnight, on higher crude oil prices and as traders as traders digested data showing a stronger than expected pace of expansion of the Chinese economy.

Meanwhile, traders remain concerned over the domestic Covid-19 cases, though the daily new cases are on a slight decline, but deaths are increasing. New South Wales reported 29,830 new cases and 36 deaths on Monday and Victoria also reported 20,180 new cases and 22 deaths. Queensland recorded 15,962 new cases and 16 deaths and Tasmania reported 1,310 new cases.

The benchmark S&P/ASX 200 Index is gaining 21.00 points or 0.28 percent to 7,438.30, after touching a high of 7,445.10 earlier. The broader All Ordinaries Index is up 26.70 points or 0.35 percent to 7,766.00. Australian stocks closed modestly higher on Monday.

Among the major miners, OZ Minerals is gaining almost 1 percent, Rio Tinto is edging up 0.4 percent, BHP Group is adding 1.5 percent and Fortescue Metals is advancing more than 1 percent, while Mineral Resources is losing more than 1 percent.

Oil stocks are mixed. Woodside Petroleum is flat, Santos is edging down 0.4 percent and Origin Energy is losing more than 1 percent, while Beach energy is gaining more than 1 percent.

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

Among tech stocks, Xero is gaining more than 2 percent, Appen is surging 4.5 percent and Afterpay is edging up 0.3 percent, while Zip is losing more than 1 percent and WiseTech Global is edging down 0.2 percent.

Gold miners are mixed. Resolute Mining is losing more than 1 percent and Evolution Mining is edging down 0.3 percent, while Gold Road Resources and Northern Star Resources are adding almost 1 percent each. Newcrest Mining is edging up 0.2 percent.

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

On Wall Street, the markets were off on Monday for the Martin Luther King Jr. holiday and will return to action on Tuesday.

Meanwhile, the major European markets closed on a firm note on the day. The U.K.'s FTSE 100 surged up 0.91 percent, Germany's DAX advanced 0.32 percent and France's CAC 40 gained 0.82 percent.

Crude oil prices moved modestly higher on Tuesday, with the upside capped by news that the Trans Mountain pipeline returned to normal operations following a two-month disruption. West Texas Intermediate crude for February delivery added $0.48 or 0.57 percent to $84.30 per barrel.

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