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Australian Market Edges Higher

(RTTNews) - The Australian stock market is edging higher in cautious trade after slipping into negative territory earlier on Wednesday, the first trading day of 2019, in the absence of any cues overnight from Wall Street and amid lingering worries about global economic growth.

The benchmark S&P/ASX 200 Index is adding 2.90 points or 0.05 percent to 5,649.30, after touching a low of 5,619.80 earlier. The broader All Ordinaries Index is up 3.70 points or 0.06 percent to 5,713.10. On Monday, Australian stocks finished the last trading session of 2018 slightly lower after the release of weak Chinese data.

In the banking space, National Australia Bank, Westpac and ANZ Banking are lower in a range of 0.6 percent to 0.8 percent, while Commonwealth Bank is edging up 0.1 percent.

Among the major miners, BHP Group is advancing almost 1 percent, while Rio Tinto is down 0.3 percent and Fortescue Metals is lower by 0.2 percent.

Shares of AusQuest are falling more than 26 percent after the mining exploration company said it is abandoning two of its projects in Western Australia, the Billy Blue Zinc and Jimberlana Nickel Projects, as they did not seem worth mining.

Oil stocks are also mostly lower despite crude oil prices edging higher on Monday. Woodside Petroleum is losing 0.4 percent and Oil Search is down 0.5 percent, while Santos is adding 0.2 percent.

Among gold miners, Evolution Mining is declining almost 1 percent and Newcrest Mining is down 0.1 percent.

In the currency market, the Australian dollar is lower against the U.S. dollar on Wednesday. The local currency was quoted at $0.7048, down from 0.7062 on Monday.

Overnight, the U.S. and European markets were closed for the New Year holiday.
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