RTTNews - The Australian stock market is trading higher on Friday following the overnight rally on Wall Street. Higher commodity and oil prices helped lift resource stocks. Banking stocks are also trading in positive territory.
In early morning trades, the benchmark S&P/ASX 200 Index is up 40.10 points or 1.04% to 3,896.10 and the broader All Ordinaries Index is gaining 39.70 points or 1.03% to 3,891.20.
U.S. stocks closed higher on Thursday, thanks in part to strong demand for the Treasury Department's latest bond auction. Following a disappointing start on the heels of disheartening employment data, stocks staged a substantial recovery. The major averages all finished the day firmly in positive territory, with the Dow snapping a four-session losing streak.
Crude oil prices rose again in trading on Thursday amid more violence in Nigeria. Light sweet crude for August delivery climbed to US$70.23 on the New York Mercantile Exchange, up US$1.56 on the session. Oil reached as high as $70.93 in mid-day trading.
The Australian stock market closed higher for the second straight session on Thursday, with resources stocks leading the market higher. The S&P/ASX200 index advanced 49.0 points or 1.3% to close at 3,856.0, while the All Ordinaries index advanced 49.3 points or 1.3% to settle at 3,851.5.
The markets have little to digest in terms of economic news on Friday.
In the currency market, the Australian dollar opened higher on Friday as mixed US economic data made investors more amenable to risk. In early trades, the local unit was trading in a range of US$0.8026-US$0.8028, up from Thursday's close of US$0.7993-US$0.7996.
Among the resources leader, global mining leader BHP Billiton and rival Rio Tinto are trading lower by almost 1%. BHP Billiton is said to be starting a formal process to offload its Ravensthorpe nickel operation in Western Australia along with its Yabulu refinery. However, gold miners advanced on the back of higher gold prices, with Newcrest Mining, Newmont Mining and Lihir Gold up more than 1%.
Copper and gold producer Oz Minerals may be an acquisition target after clearing its debt, according to reports. The company's planned sale of its Martabe gold and silver project in Indonesia for US$211 million has cleared the final hurdle after the transaction was approved by the shareholders of the Chinese buyer. However, the company's stock is down 1.61%.
In the oil sector, Woodside Petroleum, Santos and Oil Search are trading higher in a range of 1-1.5%. Caltex Australia forecast profit for the first half-year to rise as much as 50%, on higher refiner margins. The company's shares are up almost 4%.
Among the major banks, Australia and NZ Banking Group, Commonwealth Bank of Australia, National Australia Bank and Westpac are trading higher.
Qantas, the biggest customer of Boeing's 787 Dreamliner, said it deferred delivery of 15 Boeing 787-8 aircraft by four years and canceled orders for 15 Boeing 787-9 aircraft slated for delivery in 2014-15. The canceled orders will save the company US$3 billion in capital expenditure. Shares of the company are gaining almost 2%.
ABB Grain said that the Foreign Investment Review Board has told it has no objection to the company's proposed A$1.6 billion tie-up with Canadian agribusiness Viterra Inc. The company's stock is trading down less than 0.5%.
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