RTTNews - Tracking Wall Street's modest surge on Friday, the Australian stock market moved up in early trading on Monday with stocks from energy, materials, consumer staples and healthcare sectors leading the charge. Financial stocks opened on a subdued note, but have gained in strength subsequently on strong buying at lower levels. Industrials and utilities are exhibiting a mixed trend.

The benchmark index S&P/ASX 200 which opened flat at 4000.8, has rallied sharply and is currently trading at 4,039.5, up 38.7 points or 1% over its previous close. The broader All Ordinaries index is up by 36.1 points or 0.9% at 4,029.

On Friday, the S&P/ASX 200 index had ended at 4,001, recording a gain of 5.20 points or 0.12%. The All Ordinaries index finished at 3,993, gaining 51 points or 0.13%.

In the banking space, Commonwealth Bank of Australia and Westpac Banking are edging higher while National Australia Bank is exhibiting weakness.

Mining majors Rio Tinto and BHP Billiton are up with notable gains. Energy stocks Woodside Petroleum and Santos are also trading higher.

In the currency market, the Australian dollar opened marginally higher this morning. In early trading, the Aussie was quoting at US$0.8006/11 to the U.S. dollar, up from Friday's close of US$0.7996/99. The Australian dollar is currently trading at 0.8053 to the U.S. dollar.

Among other markets in the Asia-Pacific region, Korea is trading sharply higher with its benchmark index KOSPI gaining nearly 2%. New Zealand's NZX 50 is up 0.3% and Singapore's Straits Times index is trading modestly higher.

Stock markets across the Asia-Pacific region had closed higher on Friday, with Hong Kong's Hang Seng index climbing by 2.4% while Japan's benchmark Nikkei index posting a modest gain of 0.6%.

On Friday, Wall Street ended with modest gains after a highly choppy ride amid mixed reaction to earnings reports and housing data. The Dow and Nasdaq finished on the upside, gaining 32.12 points or 0.4% to 8,743.94 and 1.58 points or 0.1% to 1,886.61 respectively. The S&P 500 closed 0.36 points down at 940.38.

Traders looked to results from Google and IBM Corp. which firmly beat Wall Street estimates, while financial stalwarts Bank of America and Citigroup also beat forecasts, but by more modest margins. General Electric also surpassed expectations.
There was not much of a reaction to the report from the U.S. Commerce Department which showed housing starts rose 3.6% to an annual rate of 582,000 units in June from a revised pace of 562,000 units in the previous month.

Major European markets closed on the upside, with the German DAX Index finishing higher by 0.4% and the French CAC 40 index and the U.K.'s FTSE 100 both rising by 0.6%.

Continuing its upward movement for another day, crude oil finished at its best level in 11 days on Friday. Light sweet crude oil for August settlement rose US$1.54 to settle at US$63.56 per barrel. Prices hit as high as US$63.99 after earlier hitting as low as US$61.04.

For comments and feedback: contact editorial@rttnews.com