The Australian stock market was trading higher on Friday, extending recent sessions gains, following another triple-digit gain on Wall Street overnight. In the local market, mining stocks led the gainers as metal prices rose. In early trading, the benchmark S&P/ASX 200 index is gaining 48 points or 1.32% to 3,695, after closing a percent higher on Thursday. The broader All Ordinaries index is up 48 points or 1.35% to 3,635.
In the currency market, the Australian dollar opened stronger. The Aussie opened at US$0.7023-0.7026, up from Thursday's close of US$0.6992-0.6995.
On Wall Street, U.S. stocks ended Thursday's trading session higher, amid some reassuring economic news and comments from Treasury Secretary Geithner, calling for a stronger regulatory system with increased government power. Geithner also pushed for tougher rules on how big companies manage their finances as well as for tighter controls on some hedge funds and money-market mutual funds. Treasury Department also auctioned $24 billion worth of seven-year notes that helped to ease some of the recent concerns about the outlook for demand for government debt. The Dow closed up 175 points or 2.25% at 7,925, the Nasdaq gained 58 points or 3.80% to 1,483, and the S&P 500 added 19 points or 2.33% to finish at 833.
On the economic front, the markets have very little economic reports to digest in today's trading.
Among banking stocks, ANZ Banking Group is falling 1.55%, Commonwealth Bank of Australia is down 0.78%, and National Australia Bank is edging down 0.10%. Westpac is losing 1.63%, while investment bank Macquarie Group is gaining 2.05%.
In the resources sector, index leader BHP Billiton is gaining 1.57% and Rio Tinto is surging 5.80%. Gold miners were stronger, after gold closed higher for a second straight session on Thursday. Sino Gold is adding 0.36%, Newcrest Mining is gaining 2.45%, and Lihir Gold is rising 1.24%.
On Thursday, crude oil futures for May delivery closed higher, recovering its losses from the previous session, on the release of some positive economic data that rekindled hopes of a boost in energy demand. Oil closed up $1.57 at $54.34 a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange on Thursday, after hitting an intraday low of $52.76 and a high of $54.66. In the Asian session Friday, crude is currently down $0.30 at $54.04 a barrel in electronic trading.
Among energy stocks, Woodside is losing 0.731%, while Santos is rising 3.29%, and Oil Search is adding 2.16%.
In the retail sector, David Jones is losing 1.32%, while Coles' owner Wesfarmers is adding 0.75%, and Woolworths is gaining 1.07%.
Debt-laden miner OZ Minerals Ltd shares have been placed in a trading halt as the zinc producer seeks an extension to refinance A$1.3 billion of debt due on Tuesday.
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