RTTNews - The Australian market opened on a subdued note Wednesday with participants choosing to stay cautious after recent strong gains. Energy and consumer staples are trading weak, while select healthcare, industrials and materials stocks are surging higher. A fair amount of buying is seen in telecommunications and utilities sectors.

The benchmark Australian index S&P/ASX 200, which slipped to 3,946 after an early surge, has edged up into positive territory and is currently trading at 3,957.50, up 2.20 points over its previous close. The All Ordinaries index is up 5.60 points at 3,953.70.

The Australian market had closed at a seven-month high on Tuesday with the benchmark S&P/ASX 200 surging 60.90 points to 3,955.30 and the All Ordinaries index moving up by 61.70 points to 3,949.60, on narrowing current account deficit and improving trade position.

In Wednesday's trading, materials stocks Newcrest and Rio Tinto are trading higher by 1.3% and 1.2% respectively. In the banking space, National Bank of Australia, ANZ Bank and Westpac Banking Corporation are trading weak while Commonwealth Bank of Australia is trading modestly higher.

Explorer Uranio plans to merge with private company Manhattan Resources under a scrip deal that will create a uranium group with a large resource. Under the terms of the deal announced on Wednesday, Uranio will issue 44.2 million new shares to the 19 shareholders of Manhattan, which is headed by uranium industry stalwart Alan Eggers.

According to a joint statement by the companies, the merger will create a well funded company with a substantial uranium resource of £10.9 million, or $22 million, and identified exploration upside of £6.6 to £15.4 million. The Uranio stock has surged higher this morning and is currently trading 43.5% up.

In the currency market, the Australian dollar is trading at 0.8184 to the U.S. dollar.

On the economic front, the data on Australia's Gross Domestic Product will be released by the Australian Bureau of Statistics today.

Among other markets in the Asia-Pacific region, Japan is trading higher, with its benchmark index Nikkei gaining 0.61%. The New Zealand and South Korean markets are currently trading flat.

On Wall Street, stocks extended their winning streak to a fourth successive session on Tuesday with traders reacting positively to the better-than-expected pending home sales numbers for the month of April.

The major averages ended the day modestly higher, although well off their best levels of the day. The Dow finished up by 19.43 points or 0.2 percent at 8,740.87, the Nasdaq closed up 8.12 points or 0.4 percent, at 1,836.80 and the S&P 500 finished up by 1.87 points or 0.2 percent at 944.74.

In the Asia-Pacific region, stock markets finished on a mixed note. Japan's benchmark Nikkei 225 Index edged up by 0.3 percent, while Hong Kong's Hang Seng fell 2.6 percent.

Major European markets also turned in a mixed performance. The French CAC 40 Index slipped by less than a tenth of a percent, while the German DAX Index rose by a minute margin. The U.K.'s FTSE 100 Index dropped by 0.7 percent.

Oil prices were flat on Tuesday amid choppy trading as investors awaited the Energy Information Administration's weekly inventory report. Crude oil prices finished at US$68.55 per barrel, down US$0.03 on the choppy session. Prices touched as high as US$69.05 after hitting a low of US$67.50.

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