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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 staying below the 7,000 mark, following the mixed cues from Wall Street overnight, with strong gains in gold mining and most technology stocks partially offset by weakness in energy stocks after crude oil price tumbled.

The benchmark S&P/ASX 200 Index is gaining 22.50 points or 0.32 percent to 6,997.40, after touching a high of 7,000.40 earlier. The broader All Ordinaries Index is up 25.00 points or 0.35 percent to 7,232.50. Australian markets ended slightly lower on Thursday.

Among major miners, Rio Tinto and Fortescue Metals are gaining more than 1 percent, while OZ Minerals and Mineral Resources are advancing almost 2 percent each. BHP Group is adding almost 1 percent.

Oil stocks are lower. Origin Energy is edging down 0.4 percent and Santos is losing almost 1 percent, while Beach energy and Woodside Energy are slipping 2.5 percent each.

Among tech stocks, WiseTech Global is gaining almost 2 percent, Appen is adding almost 1 percent and Zip is advancing almost 3 percent, while Xero is losing almost 1 percent and Afterpay owner Block is plunging almost 7 percent after reporting its results.

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

Gold miners are higher. Northern Star Resources and Resolute Mining are gaining 3.5 percent each, while Gold Road Resources is adding more than 1 percent, Newcrest Mining is up almost 2 percent and Evolution Mining is advancing 2.5 percent.

In other news, shares in European Lithium are soaring more than 18 percent after it inked a deal with German automobile maker BMW AG to supply battery-grade lithium hydroxide.

In the currency market, the Aussie dollar is trading at $0.696 on Friday.

On Wall Street, stocks turned in a relatively lackluster performance during trading on Thursday, with the major averages bouncing back and forth across the unchanged line following the rally seen on Wednesday. Despite the choppy trading, the tech-heavy Nasdaq reached a new three-month closing high.

The major averages eventually finished the session mixed. While the Nasdaq rose 52.42 points or 0.4 percent to 12,720.58, the S&P 500 edged down 3.23 points or 0.1 percent to 4,151.94 and the Dow dipped 85.68 points or 0.3 percent to 32,726.82.

Meanwhile, the major European markets moved to the upside on the day. The German DAX Index and the French CAC 40 Index both rose by 0.6 percent, while the U.K.'s FTSE 100 Index closed just above the unchanged line after the Bank of England announced its biggest interest rate hike since 1995.

Crude oil futures settled lower on Thursday on concerns about the outlook for energy demand amid rising worries about a possible recession. West Texas Intermediate Crude oil futures for September ended lower by $2.12 or about 2.3% at $88.54 a barrel, settling below the $90 a barrel mark for the first time since early February.

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