RTTNews - After a weak start, the Australian market is edging higher on Thursday on fairly strong buying in some energy and materials stocks.

It was a subdued start this morning for Australian stocks as the overnight weak close on Wall Street weighed on the market to an extent. However, riding on resources stocks, which are in demand on the back of firm oil and base-metal prices, the benchmark Australian index S&P/ASX 200 edged up into positive territory subsequently.

Currently, the index is trading at 4,046, up nearly 22 points over its previous close. The broader All Ordinaries index is trading 26 points up at 4042.3.

On Wednesday, the S&P/ASX 200 index had ended 89.50 points up at 4,024, while the All Ordinaries moved up by 82.70 points to 4,016.

Among miners, Fortescue Metals is up nearly 18% amid talks the company could be the focus of Chinese bid interest. The stock has been moving up almost consistently since late last week after Rio Tinto scrapped a planned tie-up with Chinalco.

Rio Tinto is up 2.8%. Orica is up by 1.2%, BHP Billiton is trading 0.7% up and Newcrest Mining is up nearly a per cent.

Energy stocks Woodside Petroleum and Origin Energy, diversified financials stock Macquarie Group and capital goods issue Leighton Holdings are also trading firm.

However, healthcare stocks are mostly trading lower. Consumer staples are also seen struggling for support. Financials, industrials and utilities stocks are exhibiting a mixed trend.

In corporate news, shareholders of Oz Minerals Limited are meeting today to vote on the revised offer by China's Minmetals to buy most assets of Oz Minerals. The Chinese firm has increased its offer for the assets it intends to acquire from Oz Minerals by US$180 million to US$1.386 billion.

Share of Oz Minerals are currently in a trading halt.

In economic news, job figures for May will be released today. Economists expect a sharp jump in the unemployment rate.

In the currency market, the Australian dollar is trading at 0.8057 to the U.S. dollar.

Among other markets in the Asia-Pacific region, Japan and Korea are trading higher, while the New Zealand market is exhibiting weakness. In Tokyo, the Nikkei breached the 10,000 mark and climbed to a new 8-month high in the process.

On Wall Street, the Dow closed down 24.04 points at 8,739.02 on Wednesday. The Nasdaq closed down 7.05 points at 1,853.08 and the S&P 500 eased by 3.28 points to 939.15.

Major European markets closed Wednesday's session moderately higher. The U.K.'s FTSE 100 Index closed up by 0.7 percent, while the French CAC 40 Index and the German DAX Index finished up by 0.6 percent and 1.1 percent, respectively.

Crude oil finished above US$71 per barrel at its highest level in almost eight months on Wednesday. Traders mulled Energy Information Administration data that showed a decline in crude oil and gasoline inventories last week.

Light sweet crude for July delivery finished at US$71.33, up US$1.32 for the session. Prices reached as high as US$72.43 in mid-morning trading.

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