The stock market in Australia ended in positive territory on Thursday, following Wall Street, where a late-day rally led by financials helped the major indices end in positive territory, after the Federal Reserve signaled that that the contraction in the economy is slowing down. The market, however, pared some of the gains following the release of China's GDP numbers, which showed that the economy expanded at a slower quarterly rate of 6.1% in the first quarter.

On Wednesday, the Nasdaq ended the session up 1.08 points or 0.1% at 1,627, while the Dow jumped 109.44 points or 1.4% to 8,030 and the S&P 500 closed up 10.56 points or 1.3% at 852.

In Asian trading, crude oil ended at $49.90 a barrel, up $0.65, in electronic trading. Light sweet crude for May delivery closed down $0.16 at $49.25 a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange on Wednesday after an Energy Information Administration data revealed commercial crude oil inventories increased for a 25th time in 29 weeks by 5.6 million barrels to 366.7 million barrels in the week ended April 10, 2009.

In Sydney, the benchmark S&P/ASX 200 index added 28.2 points, or 0.75%, to 3,776, and the broader All Ordinaries index added 31.7 points, or 0.86%, to 3,726.

Banking stocks ended mixed. Commonwealth Bank of Australia gained 1.30% and National Australia Bank added 0.73%. However, ANZ Banking Group declined 1.31%, Westpac Banking lost 1.59% and investment bank Macquarie Group slipped 0.48%.

In the resources sector, index leader BHP Billiton declined 0.98%, while Rio Tinto advanced 1.22%. Among the Gold miners, Lihir Gold lost 1.34% and Newcrest Mining fell 2.62%. However, Sino Gold bucked the trend and gained 0.93%.

Oil related stocks ended mixed. While Woodside Petroleum slipped 0.21%, Oil Search edged up 0.38%, and Santos gained 0.72%.

In the retail sector, David Jones fell 0.91% and Harvey Norman lost 0.71%. However, Coles' owner Wesfarmers advanced 3.32%, and Woolworths edged up 0.35%.

Telecommunications stocks advanced. Telstra gained 1.55%, and Singapore Telecommunications rose 1.68%.

Media stocks also ended in positive territory. Consolidated Media added 0.50% and News Corp edged up 0.17%. Fairfax remained unchanged from the previous close.

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