Australian Market Modestly Higher

The Australian stock market modestly higher on Tuesday, recouping the losses in the previous session, with the benchmark S&P/ASX 200 moving to just a tad below the 7,500 level at nine-month highs, despite the broadly negative cues from Wall Street overnight, with gains in financial and iron ore mining stocks partially offset by weakness in technology stocks.

The benchmark S&P/ASX 200 Index is gaining 17.80 points or 0.24 percent to 7,499.50, after touching a high of 7,516.80 earlier. The broader All Ordinaries Index is up 11.80 points or 0.15 percent to 7,712.20. Australian stocks closed modestly lower on Monday.

Among the major miners, BHP Group is gaining almost 1 percent, Rio Tinto is advancing almost 2 percent and Fortescue Metals is adding 1.5 percent, while Mineral Resources is losing more than 1 percent. OZ Minerals is flat.

Oil stocks are mostly weak. Origin Energy is edging up 0.1 percent, while Beach energy is losing more than 1 percent and Santos is edging down 0.5 percent. Woodside Energy is flat.

Among tech stocks, Appen is losing almost 1 percent, Afterpay owner Block is declining almost 3 percent and Zip is slipping more than 2 percent, while Xero is adding almost 1 percent and WiseTech Global is edging up 0.2 percent.

Gold miners are mostly lower. Northern Star Resources and Newcrest Mining are edging down 0.2 percent each, while Evolution Mining is losing almost 1 percent, Resolute Mining is slipping more than 3 percent and Gold Road Resources is declining almost 2 percent.

Among the big four banks, Commonwealth Bank is gaining almost 1 percent, while Westpac, National Australia Bank and ANZ Banking are edging up 0.3 to 0.5 percent each.

In economic news, the value of retail sales in Australia was down a seasonally adjusted 3.9 percent on month in December, the Australian Bureau of Statistics said on Tuesday - coming in at A$34.472 billion. That missed expectations for a decline of 0.3 percent following the 1.4 percent increase in November. On a yearly basis, retail sales climbed 7.5 percent.

The Reserve Bank of Australia said on Tuesday that private sector credit in Australia was up 0.3 percent on month in December, shy of expectations for 0.5 percent, which would have been unchanged. On a yearly basis, private sector credit climbed 8.3 percent.

In the currency market, the Aussie dollar is trading at $0.705 on Tuesday.

On the Wall Street, stocks kept falling right till the end of the day's session on Monday after a weak start, as traders chose to lighten commitments ahead of a slew of earnings from tech firms, and the Federal Reserve's monetary policy decision.

The major averages all ended notably lower, with the tech-laden Nasdaq recording a sharp loss. The Dow ended down 260.99 points or 0.77 percent at 33,717.09, the S&P 500 settled lower by 52.79 points or 1.3 percent at 4,017.77, while the Nasdaq closed with a loss of 227.90 points or 1.96 percent at 11,393.81.

The major European markets also closed broadly lower on Monday with investors focusing on corporate earnings updates and looking ahead to the upcoming policy meetings of central banks. Germany's DAX edged down 0.16 percent and France's CAC 40 ended lower by 0.21 percent, while the U.K.'s FTSE 100 gained 0.25 percent.

Crude oil prices fell to near three-week lows on Monday amid concerns about global economic growth and the outlook for oil demand following Russia's decision to allow its energy companies to determine their own pricing and exports. West Texas Intermediate Crude oil futures for March dropped $1.78 or 2.2 percent at $77.90 a barrel.

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