RTTNews - Extending the recent rally, the Australian market edged higher on Tuesday morning with the late rally on Wall Street overnight and rising optimism about the economy resulting in some strong buying in select blue chips.

The benchmark S&P/ASX 200, which opened at 4,139.6 this morning, is currently up by 24.7 points or 0.6% at 4,164.3. The broader All Ordinaries index is up 24.2 points or 0.6% at 4172.

Recording their tenth successive day of gains, the S&P/ASX 200 and the All Ordinaries index had ended sharply higher on Monday. While the S&P/ASX 200 ended at 4,140, recording a gain of 49.8 points or 1.22%, the All Ordinaries index ended up 50.5 points or 1.23% at 4,148.

In the banking space, ANZ Bank is up by about 1%, Commonwealth Bank of Australia is trading modestly higher, National Bank of Australia is gaining 0.8% and Westpac Banking Corporation is up by 0.9%.

Among miners, BHP Billiton and Fortescue Metals are trading modestly higher. Bluescope Steel is up by nearly 5%. Lihir Gold and Incitec Pivot are up by over 1%. Newcrest Mining is down with a loss of 0.8%, while Orica and Rio Tinto are trading with modest losses.

Newmont Mining Corporation has extended its gas supply contract in Western Australia with Santos for four years. The gas will be supplied from the offshore John Brookes gas field. It will be processed at the East Spar gas processing facilities on Varanus Island and transported through the Goldfields pipeline. The Santos stock is trading flat.

Other energy majors Woodside Petroleum and Origin Energy are trading in the red with modest losses.

Alesco has posted a full year net loss of almost A$13 million. The building materials and home products maker booked a net loss of A$12.8 million for the 12 months ended May 31, compared to a net profit of A$58 million in the previous financial year. The company's net profit before significant items was A$29.1 million, compared to A$65.5 million in the prior year. The stock is currently trading over 3% up on its previous close.

In economic news, the Conference Board Leading Index and the National Australia Bank's Business Survey reports are due today.

In the currency market, the Australian dollar recorded its best open in ten months as rising equity markets boosted investor appetite for risk. In early trading this morning, the Aussie was quoting at US$0.8225/27, up from Monday's close of US$0.8220/24. The Australian dollar is currently trading at 0.8218 to the U.S. dollar.

Among other markets in the Asia-Pacific region, New Zealand and Singapore are trading modestly higher while Japan and Korea are down in the red with modest losses.

Stock markets across the Asia-Pacific region had finished on the upside on Monday. While Japan's benchmark Nikkei index posted a 1.5% gain, Hong Kong's Hang Seng index surged 1.4%.

On Wall Street, stocks rallied during the final hour on Monday after trading in the red for a considerable length of time.

According to a release from the commerce department, new home sales jumped 11% to an annual rate of 384,000 in June from the revised May rate of 346,000. The rise was much more than economists had been anticipating. The month-to-month percentage change is the highest in nearly 9 years. The stronger than expected sales growth came amid a pullback in prices, with the median sales price of new houses sold in June falling 5.8% to US$206,200 from US$219,000 in the previous month. The median sales price had increased for two consecutive months.

The Dow closed up by 15.27 points or 0.2% at 9,109, the Nasdaq climbed by 1.93 points or 0.1% to 1,968 and the S&P 500 edged up by 2.92 points or 0.3% to 982.

Major European markets ended the day higher after seeing some volatility. The German DAX index gained 0.4% while the U.K.'s FTSE 100 index and the French CAC 40 index both eked out 0.2% percent gains.

Crude oil finished a choppy session mildly higher on Monday after earlier challenging US$69 per barrel. Oil received a spark from encouraging housing data that led to believe better days may be looming for energy demand. Light sweet crude oil for August delivery rose to US$68.38, up 33 cents on the session. Prices earlier touched as high as US$68.99 before hitting a low of US$67.60.

For comments and feedback: contact editorial@rttnews.com