Australian Market Modestly Higher

The Australian stock market is modestly higher on Friday, recouping the losses in the previous session, with the benchmark S&P/ASX 200 moving to a tad below the 7,500 level, following the broadly positive cues from global markets overnight, with gains is technology and financial stocks.

The benchmark S&P/ASX 200 Index is gaining 29.20 points or 0.39 percent to 7,497.50, after touching a high of 7,508.10 earlier. The broader All Ordinaries Index is up 28.90 points or 0.38 percent to 7,716.90. Australian markets ended modestly lower on Wednesday prior to the holiday on Thursday.

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

Oil stocks are mixed. Woodside Energy and Beach energy are edging down 0.3 to 0.4 percent each. Santos is edging up 0.2 percent and Origin Energy is gaining more than 2 percent after lifting its earnings guidance.

Among tech stocks, Afterpay owner Block is gaining more than 1 percent, Appen is adding almost 1 percent, Xero is advancing almost 2 percent, WiseTech Global is surging almost 5 percent and Zip is up almost 4 percent.

Among the big four banks, ANZ Banking, National Australia Bank and Westpac are gaining almost 1 percent each, while Commonwealth Bank is edging up 0.5 percent.

Gold miners are mostly lower. Northern Star Resources and Gold Road Resources are edging down 0.4 percent each, while Newcrest Mining is losing more than 2 percent. Evolution Mining is gaining more than 1 percent and Resolute Mining is surging more than 5 percent.

In economic news, Export prices in Australia were down 0.9 percent on quarter and 20.5 percent on year in the fourth quarter of 2022, the Australian Bureau of Statistics said on Friday. Import prices rose 1.8 percent on quarter and 14.9 percent on year.

Final demand producer prices in Australia were up 0.7 percent on quarter in the fourth quarter of 2022, the Australian Bureau of Statistics said on Friday. That was shy of expectations for an increase of 1.7 percent and was down from 1.9 percent in the three months prior. On a yearly basis, producer prices rose 5.8 percent - again missing forecasts for 6.3 percent and down from 6.4 percent in the previous three months.

In the currency market, the Aussie dollar is trading at $0.712 on Friday.

On Wall Street, stocks fluctuated early in the session on Thursday but moved mostly higher over the course of the trading day. With the upward move, the tech-heavy Nasdaq jumped to a four-month closing high, while the S&P 500 reached its best closing level in over a month.

The major averages saw further upside going into the close, ending the session at their best levels of the day. While the Nasdaq surged 199.06 points or 1.8 percent to 11,512.41, the S&P 500 shot up 44.21 points or 1.1 percent to 4,060.43 and the Dow climbed 205.57 points or 0.6 percent to 33,949.41.

The major European markets also moved to the upside on the day. While the French CAC 40 Index advanced by 0.7 percent, the German DAX Index rose by 0.3 percent and the U.K.'s FTSE 100 Index edged up by 0.2 percent.

Crude oil prices showed a strong move to the upside on Thursday, benefitting from optimism about the outlook for demand following the release of upbeat U.S. economic data. West Texas Intermediate Crude for March delivery jumped $0.86 or 1.1 percent to $81.01 a barrel.

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