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Australian Market Slightly Higher

The Australian stock market slightly higher on Tuesday, extending the gains in the previous four sessions, with the benchmark S&P/ASX 200 moving to just below the 7,500 level at nine-month highs, following the broadly positive cues from global markets overnight, with gains in technology and mining stocks partially offset by weakness in financial stocks.

The benchmark S&P/ASX 200 Index is gaining 9.00 points or 0.12 percent to 7,466.30, after touching a high of 7,480.10 earlier. The broader All Ordinaries Index is up 13.80 points or 0.18 percent to 7,688.00. Australian stocks closed slightly higher on Monday.

Among the major miners, BHP Group is edging up 0.4 percent, Mineral Resources is gaining more than 4 percent and Fortescue Metals is adding almost 1 percent, while Rio Tinto is edging down 0.1 percent. OZ Minerals is flat.

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

Among tech stocks, Appen is gaining almost 3 percent, Xero is adding almost 1 percent, Afterpay owner Block is surging more than 6 percent and WiseTech Global is edging up 0.5 percent. Zip is plunging more than 7 percent despite the buy-now-pay-later firm announcing a 12 percent growth in revenues to $188 million for the December quarter.

Gold miners are mostly higher. Northern Star Resources and Evolution Mining are adding more than 1 percent each, while Resolute Mining is gaining 3.5 percent and Newcrest Mining is up almost 1 percent. Gold Road Resources is edging down 0.3 percent.

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

In other news, shares in Myer are gaining more than 5 percent after the department store posted its strongest sales in almost 20 months in the five months ended December 31.

In economic news, the manufacturing sector in Australia slipped into contraction territory in January, the latest survey from Judo Bank revealed on Tuesday with a 32-month low manufacturing PMI score of 49.8. That's down from 50.2 in December and it falls beneath the boom-or-bust line of 50 that separates expansion from contraction.

The survey also showed that Australia's services PMI improved to a three-month high of 48.3, up from 47.3 in December. The composite index also hit a three-month high by improving to 48.2 from 47.5.

In the currency market, the Aussie dollar is trading at $0.704 on Tuesday.

On the Wall Street, stocks moved sharply higher over the course of the trading session on Monday, extending the significant rebound seen last Friday. With the continued upward move, the Nasdaq and the S&P 500 reached their best closing levels in over a month.

The major averages pulled back off their highs of the session late in the day but remained firmly positive. While the Nasdaq soared 223.98 points or 2.0 percent to 11,364.41, the S&P 500 jumped 47.20 points or 1.2 percent to 4,019.81 and the Dow climbed 254.07 points or 0.8 percent to 33,62.56.

The major European markets also moved to the upside on the day. While the U.K.'s FTSE 100 Index edged up by 0.2 percent, the German DAX Index and the French CAC 40 Index both rose by 0.5 percent.

Crude oil prices failed to hold early gains and settled roughly flat on Monday amid concerns about the outlook for oil demand due to a potential U.S. recession. West Texas Intermediate Crude oil futures for March settled at $81.62 a barrel, down 2 cents from the previous close, after climbing to a high of $82.64 a barrel around noon before paring gains.

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