RTTNews - The Australian market ended in positive territory on Wednesday following Wall Street cues where better-than-expected economic data on consumer confidence index and home price index lifted market sentiment and reinforced confidence about growth prospects.

The benchmark S&P/ASX200 Index gained 1.11% or 48.70 points to close at 4,454, while the All-Ordinaries Index ended at 4,464, representing a gain of 46.90 points, or 1.06%.

On the economic front, the Australian Bureau of Statistics revealed that construction work done recorded a decrease in the June quarter marking a second straight quarterly decrease. According to the report, construction work was down a seasonally adjusted 0.1% quarter-over-quarter, a slower rate of fall compared to the 2.2% fall reported in the March quarter. The quarterly decrease was smaller than economists' forecast of a 3% decline.

In a separate report, the Department of Employment and Workplace Relations or DEWR revealed that Job vacancies for skilled workers in the country increased in August by 1.0% over July.

Light sweet crude oil price for October delivery ended at $72.18 a barrel in electronic trading, up $0.13 from its previous close $72.05 a barrel in New York on Tuesday.

Westfield Group, the biggest owner of shopping centers, reported a 12.1% gain in operating profit for the first half of the year. The company, which earns a third of its revenue from the 55 malls it owns in the U.S., gained 4.66%. Among other property stocks, Stockland surged up 5.40%, GPT Group soared 7.48% and Mirvac Group rose 6.48%.

Transfield Services, provider of maintenance services to miners and utilities, surged up 9.20% following the announcement of 12-year contract from Ontario Ministry of Transportation.

Consolidated Media Services soared 11.95% after announcing the sale of its stake in Seek Limited, provider of Internet services. The shares of Seek declined 3.18% on huge volumes.

Metals and mining stocks ended in positive territory. BHP Billiton gained 0.93%, Fortescue Metals added 0.45%, Gindalbie Metals rose 3.11%, Illuka Resources surged up 8.28%, Oz Minerals advanced 2.68% and Rio Tinto increased 0.92%.

Energy stocks ended mixed following sharp drop in crude oil prices. Woodside Petroleum edged down 0.02% and Oil Search shed 0.99%. However, Santos added 0.39% and Origin Energy rose 2.08%.

Banks also ended higher. ANZ Bank added 0.86%, Commonwealth Bank of Australia gained 0.70%, National Australia Bank edged up 0.37% and Westpac Banking rose 1.03%.

In the U.S., stocks ended modestly higher on Tuesday following upbeat economic data on consumer confidence index for August and slowdown in the pace of decline in S&P/Case-Shiller house price index for June, that more than offset the new projections of near-record budget deficits totaling roughly $1.58 trillion for 2009 from the Congressional Budget Office and the White House. The reappointment of Ben Bernanke as Federal Reserve Chairman for the second-term also lifted the sentiment.

The Dow closed up 30.01 points or 0.3% at 9,539, the Nasdaq closed up 6.25 points or 0.3% at 2,024 and the S&P 500 closed up 2.43 points or 0.2% at 1,028.

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