RTTNews - The Australian stock market ended in positive territory with little gains on Wednesday as traders await the Fed Reserve announcements later in the day in the U.S. A short rally in oil, commodity and gold stocks helped arrest the downslide in the market amid concerns about global recovery and await further directions. The underlying confidence or optimism about the global recovery is providing fodder for the markets which are looking for direction.

In the U.S., the major averages ended mixed on either side of unchanged line as traders preferred to stay in the sidelines ahead of the Fed meeting announcement regarding interest rates. While the Fed is expected to leave rates unchanged, traders will keep a close eye on the accompanying statement. On the economic front, traders digested a report from the National Association of Realtors, which showed that existing homes sales rose for the second consecutive month in May but still came in below economist estimates. The report showed that existing home sales rose 2.4% to an annual rate of 4.77 million units in May from a revised 4.66 million units in April. Economists had expected sales to rise 3% to 4.82 million units from the 4.68 million units originally reported for the previous month. Despite the downward revision to April sales, the annual rate of existing home sales for the month was still up 2.4% compared to March.

While the S&P 500 finished up by 2.06 points or 0.2% at 895, the Dow slipped by 16.10 points or 0.2% to 8,323, and the Nasdaq dropped by 1.27 points or 0.1% to 1,765.

The All Ordinaries Index opened unchanged from its previous close at 3,793 and slipped below the unchanged line in early trading on concerns about recovery led by banks. Firming up of commodity prices and rally in resource stocks helped recover the losses and move above the unchanged line amid low volume as investors preferred to stay away from the markets. The index finally ended with a gain of 9.20 points, or 0.20%, at 3,802. The benchmark S&P/ASX 200 Index followed a similar trend and ended lower at 3,807, representing a gain of 10.2 points, or 0.27%.

Light sweet crude oil futures for August delivery ended the Asian session at $68.55 a barrel, down $0.69 from previous close. Light sweet crude August delivery rose to $69.24 per barrel, up $1.74 on the session in New York ahead to the Energy Information Administration's weekly inventory report.

On the economic front, the latest Hudson Report Employment Expectations Survey revealed that Confidence among Australian employers increased for the first time since March last year, after successively declining for five quarters. The survey showed that there was a clear shift away from reducing headcount towards holding the current levels steady. Many employers were now using indirect strategies such as natural attrition and hiring freezes to contain costs, rather than direct actions such as redundancies.

Mixed trend was witnessed among the resource stocks following modest rise in commodity prices in the international market. Rio Tinto gained 2.04%, Minara Resources advanced 3.23%, and Mincor Resources rose 4.17%. However, BHP Billiton shed 0.21%, and Felix Resources lost 4.16%.

Gold stocks also ended mixed, despite marginal rise in bullion prices. While Lihir Gold managed to end in the green with a gain of 0.35%, Newcrest Mining lost 1.73% and Sino Gold slipped 0.75%.

Financials ended weak on growth concerns. ANZ Bank slipped 0.19%, Commonwealth Bank Australia lost 0.51%, National Australia Bank fell 1.11% and Westpac Banking edged down 0.05%.

For comments and feedback: contact editorial@rttnews.com