Australian market modestly higher | Nasdaq
(RTTNews) – Australia’s stock market is slightly higher on Wednesday, extending gains from the previous session, with the benchmark S&P/ASX 200 rising above the 7,200 level, following broadly positive signals from Wall Street in the overnight, with tech and financial stocks leading the gains as traders digest corporate earnings reports, particularly from Commonwealth Bank.
Concerns about national Covid-19 cases have also eased despite a recent spike in cases in some regions. New South Wales reported 10,312 new cases and 20 deaths on Tuesday and Victoria also reported 9,908 new cases and 21 deaths. Queensland recorded 6,902 new cases and 24 deaths, ACT reported 475 new cases and Tasmania reported 574 new cases and two deaths.
The benchmark S&P/ASX 200 gained 17.60 points or 0.25% to 7,204.30, after hitting a high of 7,243.60 earlier. The broader All Ordinaries index was up 18.10 points or 0.24% at 7,507.10. Australian stocks ended sharply higher on Tuesday.
Among the major miners, BHP Group lost almost 1%, while OZ Minerals gained 0.5%, Fortescue Metals gained more than 1% and Rio Tinto gained almost 1%.
Mineral resources fall more than 7% after the lithium and iron ore miner reported lower half-year revenue amid falling iron ore prices and labor shortages and a declared that it would not pay an interim dividend.
Oil inventories fell lower as oil prices fell sharply for a second straight session. Woodside Petroleum, Beach energy and Santos are down more than 2% each, while Origin Energy is down almost 1%.
In the tech space, WiseTech Global gains nearly 1% and Appen adds nearly 2%, while Xero and Block are up 0.3% each. Zip loses almost 1%.
Among the big four banks, ANZ Banking and National Australia Bank each gained nearly 1%, while Westpac rose nearly 2%.
Commonwealth Bank adds more than 4% after reporting a bigger-than-expected jump in half-year cash profit on growth in mortgages and business loans. It also declared an additional interim dividend and stock buyback of $2 billion.
Among gold miners, Newcrest Mining and Evolution Mining are up 0.3% each, while Resolute Mining gains 3.5%. Northern Star Resources is down 0.4% and Gold Road Resources is down almost 1%. Separately, Computershare shares jumped more than 10% after the company announced an increase in earnings and updated its full-year guidance. It also declared an interim dividend.
In the currency market, the Australian dollar is trading at $0.715 on Wednesday.
On Wall Street, stocks mostly rose during the trading day on Tuesday, more than offsetting the weakness seen on Monday. Major averages climbed firmly into positive territory after showing a lack of direction early in the session.
The major averages saw a further rise at the close, reaching new highs for the session. The Dow Jones jumped 371.65 points or 1.1% to 35,462.78, the Nasdaq jumped 178.79 points or 1.3% to 14,194.46 and the S&P 500 advanced 37.67 points or 0.8% at 4,521.54.
Meanwhile, major European markets delivered a mixed performance on the day. While Britain’s FTSE 100 index edged down 0.1%, Germany’s DAX index and France’s CAC 40 index rose 0.2% and 0.3%, respectively.
Crude oil prices settled down sharply on Tuesday, extending losses from the previous session. Oil prices fell as traders eyed U.S.-Iranian talks, which, if successful, could flood the market. West Texas Intermediate crude oil futures for March fell $1.96, or about 2.2%, to $89.36 a barrel.
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