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Australian Market Significantly Higher

The Australian stock market is significantly higher on Friday, extending the gains in the previous four sessions, with the benchmark S&P/ASX 200 staying below the 7,200 level, following the broadly positive cues from global markets overnight, boosted by mining stocks amid firmer commodity prices. Easing worries about a global banking crisis also helped underpin sentiment.

The benchmark S&P/ASX 200 Index is gaining 49.30 points or 0.69 percent to 7,171.60, after touching a high of 7,183.10 earlier. The broader All Ordinaries Index is up 52.20 points or 0.71 percent to 7,364.60. Australian markets ended significantly higher on Thursday.

Among major miners, Mineral Resources and Rio Tinto are adding almost 2 percent each, while BHP Group is gaining more than 2 percent, Fortescue Metals is advancing almost 3 percent and OZ Minerals is edging up 0.1 percent.

Oil stocks are mostly lower. Woodside Energy, Origin Energy and Santos are edging down 0.2 percent each, while Beach energy is edging up 0.5 percent.

Among tech stocks, Afterpay owner Block is gaining almost 4 percent, Xero is up more than 1 percent, WiseTech Global is edging up 0.1 percent and Zip is adding almost 1 percent, while Appen is losing almost 3 percent.

Among the big four banks, , Westpac and National Australia Bank are edging down 0.3 to 0.5 percent each, while Commonwealth Bank is edging up 0.4 percent. ANZ Banking is flat.

Gold miners are mostly higher. Gold Road Resources and Evolution Mining are adding more than 3 percent each, while Northern Star Resources is gaining more than 2 percent, Resolute Mining is advancing almost 4 percent and Newcrest Mining is up almost 2 percent.

In economic news, Private sector credit was up 0.3 percent on month in February, the Reserve Bank of Australia said on Friday - shy of expectations for 0.4 percent, which would have been unchanged. On a yearly basis, private sector credit rose 7.6 percent.

In the currency market, the Aussie dollar is trading at $0.672 on Friday.

On Wall Street, stocks moved mostly higher during trading on Thursday, adding to the strong gains posted in the previous session. With the continued upward move, the Nasdaq and the S&P 500 reached their best closing levels in over a month.

The major averages gave back ground after an early advance but moved back to the upside as the day progressed. The Nasdaq advanced 87.24 points or 0.7 percent to 12,013.47, the S&P 500 climbed 23.02 points or 0.6 percent to 4,050.83 and the Dow rose 141.43 points or 0.4 percent to 32,859.03.

The major European markets also moved to the upside on the day. While the German DAX Index surged by 1.3 percent, the French CAC 40 Index jumped by 1.1 percent and the U.K.'s FTSE 100 Index advanced by 0.7 percent.

Crude oil prices rose sharply Thursday on easing concerns over turmoil in the banking sector and supply disruptions in Turkey. West Texas Intermediate Crude oil futures for May ended higher by $1.40 or 1.9 percent at $74.37 a barrel.

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