Australian Market Modestly Higher

(RTTNews) - The Australian stock market is modestly higher on Monday following the positive cues from Wall Street on Friday as worries about U.S.-China trade tensions eased on comments from U.S. President Donald Trump that he remains hopeful of a trade deal. Gains by mining and oil stocks were almost offset by weakness in shares of the major banks.

The benchmark S&P/ASX 200 Index is adding 8.00 points or 0.12 percent to 6,464.00, off a high of 6,464.60 earlier. The broader All Ordinaries Index is up 10.90 points or 0.17 percent to 6,556.50. The Australian market closed lower on Friday.

The major miners are higher. BHP Group, Rio Tinto and Fortescue Metals are advancing more than 1 percent each.

Gold miners also advanced even as gold prices edged lower on Friday. Evolution Mining is higher by more than 1 percent and Newcrest Mining is rising almost 1 percent.

Oil stocks are also mostly higher after crude oil prices rose more than 1 percent on Friday. Woodside Petroleum is advancing almost 1 percent and Santos is up 0.2 percent, while Oil Search is lower by more than 1 percent.

Bucking the trend, the big four banks are modestly lower. ANZ Banking, Commonwealth Bank, National Australia Bank and Westpac are declining in a range of 0.2 percent to 0.7 percent.

Suncorp said its chief executive and managing director Michael Cameron has stepped down after almost four years at the banking and insurance giant's helm. The company's shares are lower by more than 1 percent.

Fisher and Paykel Healthcare reported a 10 percent increase in full-year profit on higher revenues and raised its final dividend by one cent. However, the dual-listed health equipment provider's shares are losing more than 4 percent.

Vocus Group's shares are rising more than 19 percent after the telecommunications provider said it has granted non-exclusive due diligence access to EQT Infrastructure in response to the Stockholm-based private equity firm's A$3.3 billion takeover bid.

In the currency market, the Australian dollar is higher against the U.S dollar on Monday. The local currency was quoted at $0.6928, up from $0.6892 on Friday.

On Wall Street, stocks closed modestly higher on Thursday on bargain hunting as some traders looked to pick up stocks at reduced levels following Thursday's steep losses. The markets also benefited from easing trade concerns as President Donald Trump said he remains hopeful of a U.S.-China trade deal, noting he will meet with Chinese President Xi Jinping at the G20 summit next month.

The Dow rose 95.22 points or 0.4 percent to 25,585.69, the Nasdaq edged up 8.72 points or 0.1 percent to 7,637.01 and the S&P 500 inched up 3.82 points or 0.1 percent to 2,826.06.

The major European markets also moved to the upside on Friday. While the German DAX Index rose by 0.5 percent, the French CAC 40 Index and the U.K.'s FTSE 100 Index both advanced by 0.7 percent.

Crude oil futures moved higher on Friday, rebounding from recent losses after trade worries faded a bit on U.S. President Donald Trump's comment that there is a good possibility of including Huawei in a trade deal to end a trade dispute with Beijing. WTI crude for June ended up $0.72 or 1.2 percent at $58.63 a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange.
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