Australian Market Slightly Higher

The Australian stock market is slightly higher on Wednesday after being in the red most of the morning session, extending the gains in the previous two sessions, with the benchmark S&P/ASX 200 staying above the 7,000 mark, despite the broadly negative cues from Wall Street overnight, with data released showing monthly CPI inflation easing for the second straight month to eight-month low.

Mining and energy stocks are advancing on firmer commodity prices, while technology stocks mirrored their peers on the tech-heavy Nasdaq. Banking stocks are also weak.

The benchmark S&P/ASX 200 Index is gaining 6.90 points or 0.10 percent to 7,041.00, after touching a high of 7,039.70 and a low of 7,011.30 earlier. The broader All Ordinaries Index is up 9.20 points or 0.13 percent to 7,228.60. Australian stocks ended significantly higher on Tuesday.

Among major miners, BHP Group is gaining almost 1 percent and Fortescue Metals is adding more than 1 percent, while Mineral Resources, OZ Minerals and Rio Tinto are edging up 0.2 to 0.5 percent each.

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

In the tech space, Xero is losing almost 1 percent and Zip is declining almost 2 percent, while Afterpay owner Block and WiseTech Global are edging down 0.2 to 0.5 percent each. Appen is gaining more 1 percent.

Among the big four banks, National Australia Bank is losing almost 2 percent, while Commonwealth Bank, Westpac and ANZ Banking are down almost 1 percent each.

Among gold miners, Newcrest Mining and Resolute Mining are gaining more than 1 percent each, while Gold Road Resources is advancing almost 3 percent, Northern Star Resources is adding almost 2 percent and Evolution Mining is up more than 2 percent.

In economic news, Australia's monthly Consumer Price Index (CPI) indicator in rose 6.8 percent in the year to February 2023, easing from a 7.4 percent gain in the year to January 2023 and came in below the market consensus for a 7.1 percent rise. Inflation remained well above the Reserve Bank of Australia's target range of 2 to 3 percent.

In the currency market, the Aussie dollar is trading at $0.670 on Wednesday.

On Wall Street, stocks moved mostly lower over the course of the trading day on Tuesday after turning in a lackluster performance early in the session. The major averages all moved to the downside after ending Monday's trading mixed.

The major averages climbed off their worst levels going into the close but remained in the red. While the tech-heavy Nasdaq fell 52.76 points or 0.5 percent to 11,716.08, the S&P 500 dipped 6.26 points or 0.2 percent to 3,971.27 and the Dow edged down 37.83 points or 0.1 percent to 32,394.25.

Meanwhile, the major European markets saw modest strength on the day. While the U.K.'s FTSE 100 Index crept up by 0.2 percent, the German DAX Index and the French CAC 40 Index both inched up by 0.1 percent.

Crude oil prices climbed higher Tuesday on easing concerns about global banking sector woes, lifting the most active oil futures contract to a two-week closing high. West Texas Intermediate Crude oil futures for May ended higher by $0.39 or 0.5 percent at $73.20 a barrel.

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