Australian Market Modestly Higher

The Australian stock market is modestly higher on Thursday, extending the gains in the previous two sessions, with the benchmark S&P/ASX 200 staying below the 7,300 level, following the broadly positive cues from global markets overnight, with mining and technology stocks leading the charge.

Traders reacted positively to the minutes of the US Federal Reserve's latest monetary policy meeting, which suggested slowing the pace of its interest rate hikes.

The benchmark S&P/ASX 200 Index is gaining 27.20 points or 0.38 percent to 7,259.00, after touching a high of 7,262.50 earlier. The broader All Ordinaries Index is up 26.20 points or 0.35 percent to 7,448.60. Australian stocks ended significantly higher on Wednesday.

Among major miners, BHP Group is gaining almost 2 percent, Rio Tinto is adding almost 1 percent and Fortescue Metals is advancing more than 1 percent, while Mineral Resources and OZ Minerals are edging down 0.1 to 0.3 percent each.

Oil stocks are mixed. Beach energy is edging up 0.4 percent and Origin Energy is gaining more than 1 percent, while Woodside Energy and Santos are edging down 0.3 percent each.

In the tech space, Afterpay owner Block is edging up 0.3 percent, WiseTech Global is gaining almost 3 percent, Xero is adding almost 1 percent and Zip is surging almost 5 percent. Appen is flat.

Among the big four banks, National Australia Bank, ANZ Banking, Westpac and Commonwealth Bank are all edging down 0.1 to 0.2 percent each.

Among gold miners, Northern Star Resources, Newcrest Mining and Gold Road Resources are gaining almost 3 percent each, while Evolution Mining is surging almost 6 percent and Resolute Mining is advancing almost 4 percent.

In other news, shares in Kogan are soaring more than 10 percent after the retailer said it is on course to "historical operating margins during the second half of FY23."

In the currency market, the Aussie dollar is trading at $0.674 on Thursday.

On Wall Street, stocks fluctuated over the course of the trading session on Wednesday before eventually closing mostly higher. The major averages added to the strong gains posted on Tuesday, with the Dow reaching a seven-month closing high.

The major averages all finished the day in positive territory, led by the tech-heavy Nasdaq. While the Nasdaq jumped 110.91 points or 1.0 percent to 11,285.32, the S&P 500 climbed 23.68 points or 0.6 percent to 4,027.26 and the Dow rose 95.96 points or 0.3 percent to 34,194.06.

The major European markets also showed modest moves to the upside on the day. While the German DAX Index closed just above the unchanged line, the U.K.'s FTSE 100 Index and the French CAC 40 Index edged up by 0.2 percent and 0.3 percent, respectively.

Crude oil prices fell sharply on Wednesday, weighed down by news that the Group of Seven nations has considered a price cap on Russian oil and data showing a bigger than expected jump in U.S. gasoline stockpiles last week. West Texas Intermediate Crude oil futures for December ended down $3.01 or about 3.7% at $77.94 a barrel.

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