RTTNews - Tracking overnight cues from Wall Street, the Australian market opened on a positive note Friday and is currently trading firm, with energy, materials and financials stocks recording some strong gains.

The benchmark Australian index S&P/ASX 200 rose to 3,797 after opening at 3,774 and is currently trading at 3,784.80, up 29.10 points over its previous close. The broader All Ordinaries index is up 27.70 points at 3,781.60.

On Thursday, the S&P/ASX 200 index had closed 45.40 points or 1.2% down at 3,756 and the All Ordinaries index closed 41.40 points or 1.09% down at 3,754.

Materials stocks BHP Billiton, Rio Tinto and Newcrest Mining are trading firm. In the banking space, ANZ Bank, Commonwealth Bank of Australia, National Bank of Australia and Westpac Banking Corporation are all trading higher.

Macquarie Group says it has entered into an agreement to acquire Canadian energy advisory firm Tristone Capital Global for approximately $C116 million, or US$132.75 million. Tristone has offices in Canada, the US, UK and Argentina, and offers corporate finance, acquisitions & divestitures, equity capital markets, sales, trading and research services. The Macquarie Group stock is currently trading 3% up over its previous close.

Shares of Primary Health Care Ltd are in demand this morning after the company raised more than it expected from a placement of new shares to institutional investors. The pathology services and medical centres operator said it had raised A$315 million, up from its initial goal of A$265 million. The firm issued 63 million shares at A$5 each, reflecting a small 0.8 per cent premium to its share price close of A$4.96 on Wednesday. The stock is currently trading up 7.3%.

In the currency market, the Australian dollar is trading at 0.7855 to the U.S. dollar.

Among other markets in the Asia-Pacific region, New Zealand is trading firm with its benchmark NZX 50 gaining more than a per cent. In Tokyo, the Nikkei is up 0.25% over its previous close.

On Wall Street, bolstered by the results of the $26.0 billion seven-year note auction conducted by the Treasury Department, stocks rebounded on Thursday. The sale drew a high-yield of 3.30 percent while seeing modestly strong demand, with the bid-to-cover ratio coming in at 2.26.

Earlier in the day, movements were a bit uncertain as a report from the Commerce Department revealed a slower than expected pace of new home sales in April. The data showed that new homes sales edged up 0.3 percent to an annual rate of 352,000 in April from a downwardly revised 351,000 in March. Economists had expected sales to rise to 360,000 from the 356,000 originally reported for the previous month.

Orders for durable goods increased much more than expected in the month of April after a steep decline in the previous month.

A Labor Department report showed that initial jobless claims in the week ended May 23rd came in at 623,000, down 13,000 from a revised mark of 636,000 in the previous week. Continuing claims, which measure the number of people receiving ongoing unemployment help, rose once again and set another record high.

The Dow closed up 103.78 points or 1.3 percent at 8,403.80, the Nasdaq closed up 20.71 points or 1.2 percent at 1,751.79 and the S&P 500 closed up 13.77 points or 1.5 percent at 906.83.

Crude oil settled above US$65 per barrel for the first time since November on Thursday after a Energy Information report showed a larger-than-expected decline in weekly inventories.

Stocks markets across the Asia-Pacific region turned in a mixed performance on Thursday, although the markets in Hong Kong and mainland China were closed. Japan's benchmark Nikkei 225 Index edged up 0.1 percent.

Major European markets all closed firmly in negative territory. The French CAC 40 Index and the German DAX Index fell 1.0 and 1.4 percent, respectively, while the U.K.'s FTSE 100 Index also closed down 0.7 percent.

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