Australian Market Slightly Higher

The Australian stock market slightly higher on Tuesday, recouping the losses in the previous session, with the benchmark S&P/ASX 200 staying above the 7,500 level, despite the broadly negative cues from global markets overnight, as traders remain cautious ahead of the Reserve Bank of Australia's rate decision later in the day. Energy and financial stocks are gaining.

The benchmark S&P/ASX 200 Index is gaining 10.00 points or 0.13 percent to 7,549.00, after touching a high of 7,553.40 and a low of 7,526.00 earlier. The broader All Ordinaries Index is up 11.50 points or 0.15 percent to 7,757.40. Australian stocks closed modestly lower on Monday.

Among the major miners, BHP Group, OZ Minerals and Mineral Resources are flat. Rio Tinto is edging down 0.4 percent, while Fortescue Metals is edging up 0.4 percent.

Oil stocks are mostly higher. Origin Energy and Santos are gaining almost 1 percent each, while Beach energy is adding more than 3 percent and Woodside Energy is edging up 0.4 percent.

Among tech stocks, Afterpay owner Block is gaining almost 1 percent and Xero Global is edging up 0.2 percent, while WiseTech Global and Zip are down almost 1 percent each. Appen is losing 1.5 percent.

Gold miners are mixed. Northern Star Resources is losing almost 1 percent and Gold Road Resources are edging down 0.5 percent, while Newcrest Mining and Evolution Mining are edging up 0.2 percent each. Resolute Mining is flat.

Among the big four banks, Commonwealth Bank is edging up 0.2 percent and ANZ Banking is adding more than 1 percent, while Westpac and National Australia Bank are gaining almost 1 percent each.

In economic news, Australia posted a seasonally adjusted merchandise trade surplus of A$12.237 billion in December, the Australian Bureau of Statistics said on Tuesday. That was shy of expectations for a surplus of A$12.500 billion and down from A$13.201 billion in November.

The Reserve Bank of Australia will wrap up its monetary policy meeting on Tuesday and then announce its decision on interest rates, highlighting a busy day for Asia-Pacific economic activity. The RBA is widely expected to hike its benchmark lending rate for the ninth straight time by 25 basis points, from 3.10 percent to 3.35 percent.

In the currency market, the Aussie dollar is trading at $0.690 on Tuesday.

On the Wall Street, stocks saw further downside during trading on Monday following the sharp pullback seen last Friday. With the decline, the Nasdaq and S&P 500 fell further from multi-month highs.

The major averages all closed in negative territory, although the Dow showed a relatively modest drop, edging down 34.99 points or 0.1 percent to 33,891.02. The tech-heavy Nasdaq tumbled 119.50 points or 1.0 percent to 11,887.45, while the S&P 500 slid 25.40 points or 0.6 percent to 4,111.08.

The major European markets also moved to the downside on the day. While the French CAC 40 Index slumped by 1.3 percent, the U.K.'s FTSE 100 Index and the German DAX Index both fell by 0.8 percent.

Crude oil prices climbed higher Monday on optimism energy demand from China will see a big jump after Saudi Arabia unexpectedly increased the prices of oil to be shipped to Asia. West Texas Intermediate Crude oil futures for March ended higher by $0.72 or 1 percent at $74.11 a barrel.

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