RTTNews - The Australian market extended its northward march for the fifth successive session and ended higher on Monday, led by mining, energy and retailers as optimism about a sooner-than-expected global recovery. Commodity prices gained on expectations of an increase in demand.

In the U.S., stocks ended mixed amid choppy trading as traders digested better-than-expected quarterly results with cautious optimism. Cost-cutting measures are helping the markets to meet or beat profit goals, while most companies are reporting revenues below expectations- a clear sign of weak demand in the economy.

The Dow finished up by 32.12 points or 0.4% at 8,744, and the Nasdaq rose by 1.58 points or 0.1% to 1,887. However, the S&P 500 slipped by 0.36 points to 940.38.

The All Ordinaries Index opened unchanged from its previous close at 3,993 and continued to move higher, led by miners and energy stocks. Recovery hopes and higher commodity prices helped sustain the momentum throughout the session and the market finally ended up 51.30 points, or 1.28% at 4,044. The benchmark S&P/ASX 200 Index followed a similar trend and ended at 4,050, representing a gain of 1.20% or 49.50 points,

On the economic front, a report from the Australian Bureau of Statistics revealed that producer prices dropped further in the second quarter, to record the steepest fall since the series first began in the fourth quarter of 1998. Producer prices fell 0.8% sequentially in the second quarter, faster than a 0.4% drop in the first quarter, and above economists' expectations of a 0.2% decline.

Light sweet crude oil for August delivery ended the Asian trading session at $64.14, up $0.58 from its previous close in New York at $63.56 on Friday.

Metal and mining stocks rallied sharply. BHP Billiton gained 2.27%, Rio Tinto advanced 1.75%, Fortescue Metals soared 9.18%, Gindalbie Metals added 1.30%, Minara Resources rose 6.10% and Oz Minerals soared 6.81%. Uranium producer Energy Resources of Australia gained 5.75% after the company said that it expects its profit for the first six months might triple from the same period last year.

Energy stocks also ended in positive territory. Woodside Petroleum added 0.94%, Santos gained 2.55% and Oil Search rpse 3.51%.

Gold stocks advanced on higher bullion prices in the market. Lihir Gold added 1.05%, Newcrest Mining gained 0.94% and Sino Gold Mining edged up 0.19%.

Retail stocks also ended in positive territory. David Jones gained 3.23%, Harvey Norman added 0.87%, Wesfarmers rose 1.91% and Woolworths advanced 1.47%.

Banking stocks ended on a mixed note. ANZ Bank added 0.66%, Commonwealth Bank Australia rose 1.04% and National Australia Bank edged up 0.38%. However, Westpac Banking bucked the trend and lost 0.10%.

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