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Australian Market Modestly Higher

The Australian stock market is modestly higher on Monday, extending the gains in the previous four sessions, with the benchmark S&P/ASX 200 below the 7,000 mark, following the broadly positive cues from global markets on Friday, with gains in materials, energy and technology stocks, partially offset by weakness in financial stocks.

The benchmark S&P/ASX 200 Index is gaining 20.40 points or 0.29 percent to 6,965.60, after touching a high of 6,972.40 earlier. The broader All Ordinaries Index is up 17.20 points or 0.24 percent to 7,191.00. Australian stocks closed significantly higher on Friday.

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

Oil stocks are higher. Santos and Beach energy are gaining almost 1 percent each, while Woodside Energy is adding more than 1 percent and Origin Energy is edging up 0.5 percent.

Among tech stocks, Xero and WiseTech Global are adding more than 1 percent each, while Zip is gaining 3.5 percent and Appen is up almost 1 percent. Afterpay owner Block is losing more than 1 percent.

Gold miners are mixed, Gold Road Resources is edging up 0.1 percent, Evolution Mining is gaining more than 2 percent and Northern Star Resources is adding more than1 percent, while Resolute Mining and Newcrest Mining are flat.

Among the big four banks, Commonwealth Bank is losing almost 1 percent, while National Australia Bank and ANZ Banking are declining more than 1 percent each. Westpac is flat.

In economic news, the manufacturing sector in Australia continued to expand in July, albeit at a slower pace, the latest survey from S&P Global revealed on Monday with a manufacturing PMI score of 55.7. That's down from 56.2 in June, although it remains above the boom-or-bust line of 50 that separates expansion from contraction. July data pointed to a sixth month of expansion in production across Australia's manufacturing sector.

In the currency market, the Aussie dollar is trading at $0.699 on Monday.

On Wall Street, stocks moved sharply higher over the course of the trading day on Friday, adding to the strong gains posted on Wednesday and Thursday. With the extended rally, the tech-heavy Nasdaq reached a nearly three-month closing high, while the Dow and the S&P 500 reached their best closing levels in well over a month.

The major averages pulled back off their highs going into the close but remained firmly positive. The Dow jumped 315.50 points or 1 percent to 32,845.13, the Nasdaq shot up 228.09 points or 1.9 percent to 12,390.69 and the S&P 500 surged 57.86 points or 1.4 percent to 4,130.29.

The major European markets all also showed strong moves to the upside on the day. While the U.K.'s FTSE 100 Index jumped by 1.1 percent, the German DAX Index and the French CAC 40 Index surged up by 1.5 percent and 1.7 percent, respectively.

Crude oil prices rose sharply after the Energy Information Administration said U.S. crude inventories tumbled last week. West Texas Intermediate Crude oil futures for September ended higher by $2.20 or 2.3 percent at $98.62 a barrel. WTI crude futures gained 4.1 percent in the week but fell 6.8 percent in the month.

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