The Australian stock market is trading higher on Tuesday, following a mixed lead from Wall Street overnight. In the local market, financial and resource stocks led the gainers. In early trading, the benchmark S&P/ASX 200 index is gaining 87 points or 2.37% to 3,759, after closing 1.44% higher on Thursday. The broader All Ordinaries index is up 83 points or 2.29% to 3,700.
In the currency market, the Australian dollar opened stronger. The Aussie opened at US$0.7318-0.7322, up from Thursday's close of US$0.7128-0.7133.
On Wall Street, U.S. stocks closed Monday's trading session mixed, amid new pessimism over the financial sector as well as fears of poor earnings reports in the coming week from particularly financial giants Citigroup, JP Morgan, and Goldman Sachs. Traders also cashed in on recent gains. Some selling pressure was also generated by a report from the New York Times that said the Treasury Department is directing General Motors to prepare for a bankruptcy filing by a June 1st deadline. The Dow closed down 26 points or 0.32% at 8,058, the Nasdaq gained 1 point or 0.05% to 1,653, and the S&P 500 added 2 points or 0.25% to finish at 859.
On the economic front, the National Australia Bank is scheduled to release business survey data for March, revealing business conditions and business confidence in Australia.
Among banking stocks, Commonwealth Bank of Australia is up 3.88%, ANZ Banking Group is gaining 4.33%, and National Australia Bank is adding 3.43%. Westpac is rising 3.70%, and investment bank Macquarie Group is surging 7.17%.
In the resources sector, index leader BHP Billiton is adding 1.73%, and Rio Tinto is gaining 4.09%. Gold miners were stronger, after gold closed higher on Monday. Lihir Gold is unchanged, Sino Gold is edging up 0.59%, and Newcrest Mining is gaining 2.85%.
On Monday, crude oil futures for May delivery closed lower, but staying marginally above the key technical support level of $50 a barrel, after the International Energy Agency lowered its projection of global demand for this year. Demand worries also heated up amid concern over upcoming earnings reports. Further, traders are looking forward to Wednesday's Department of Energy inventory report.
Oil closed down $2.19 at $50.05 a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange on Monday, after hitting an intraday low of $48.84 and a high of $52.15. In the Asian session Tuesday, crude is currently down $0.17 at $49.88 a barrel in electronic trading.
Among energy stocks, Woodside is rising 1.68%, Oil Search is gaining 1.50%, and Santos is adding 2.83%.
In the retail sector, David Jones is gaining 3.34%, and Coles' owner Wesfarmers is adding 1.47%, while Woolworths is edging down 0.12%.
Qantas Airways is dropping nearly 8% after it slashed full-year profit forecasts as well as flagged further 1,500 jobs cuts and capacity reduction, in the face of rapidly deteriorating trading conditions.
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