Australian Market Modestly Higher

The Australian stock market is modestly higher on Friday, recouping some of the losses in the previous two sessions, with the benchmark S&P/ASX 200 just below the 6,600 level, despite the broadly negative cues overnight from global markets, supported by financial and technology stocks, partially offset by weakness in materials and energy stocks amid tumbling commodity prices.

The benchmark S&P/ASX 200 Index is gaining 30.00 points or 0.46 percent to 6,598.10, after touching a high of 6,623.90 earlier. The broader All Ordinaries Index is up 36.40 points or 0.54 percent to 6,782.90. Australian markets ended sharply lower on Thursday.

Among major miners, Rio Tinto is losing 1.5 percent, BHP Group is down more than 2 percent and OZ Minerals is declining almost 1 percent, while Mineral Resources and Fortescue Metals are slipping more than 1 percent each.

Oil stocks are lower. Origin Energy is edging down 0.2 percent, while Woodside Energy is losing more than 1 percent, Santos is declining 1.5 percent and Beach energy is down almost 1 percent.

Among tech stocks, WiseTech Global is gaining almost 3 percent, Xero is advancing almost 2 percent, Appen is adding more than 3 percent and Zip is surging almost 7 percent, while Afterpay owner Block is losing almost 2 percent.

Among the big four banks, Commonwealth Bank is edging up 0.4 percent and National Australia Bank is gaining almost 2 percent, while Westpac and ANZ Banking are adding almost 1 percent each.

Gold miners are mostly higher. Northern Star Resources and Evolution Mining are gaining more than 1 percent each, while Gold Road Resources is adding more than 2 percent and Resolute Mining is up almost 1 percent. Newcrest Mining is losing more than 1 percent.

In economic news, the manufacturing sector in Australia continued to expand in June, the latest survey from S&P Global showed on Friday, with a manufacturing PMI score of 56.2. That's up from 55.7 in May and it moves further above the boom-or-bust line of 50 that separates expansion from contraction. This signaled a twenty-fifth consecutive month in which the PMI has printed above the 50.0 neutral threshold, signaling a sustained improvement in the health of the Australian manufacturing sector.

In the currency market, the Aussie dollar is trading at $0.689 on Friday.

On Wall Street, stocks fluctuated after an early sell-off on Thursday but maintained a negative bias throughout the session. The major averages all finished the day notably lower after ending Wednesday's trading narrowly mixed.

After falling nearly 600 points in early trading, the Dow regained some ground but still closed down 253.88 points or 0.8 percent at 30,775.43. The Nasdaq also tumbled 149.16 points or 1.3 percent to 11,028.74, while the S&P 500 slumped 33.45 points or 0.9 percent to 3,785.38.

The major European markets all also moved sharply lower on the day. While the U.K.'s FTSE 100 Index plunged 2 percent, the French CAC 40 Index and the German DAX Index tumbled by 1.8 percent and 1.7 percent, respectively.

Crude oil prices moved sharply lower Thursday, extending the pullback seen in the previous session on lingering concerns about the outlook for demand amid the possibility of a recession. West Texas Intermediate for August delivery plunged $4.02 or 3.7 percent to $105.76 a barrel.

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