RTTNews - The Australian market is trading higher on Monday, tracking the gains on Wall Street Friday and higher commodity prices.
In mid-morning trades, the benchmark S&P/ASX 200 Index is gaining 16.30 points or 0.43% to 3,834.40 and the All Ordinaries Index is adding 16.50 points or 0.43% to 3,829.80.
U.S. stocks saw further upside over the course of the trading day on Friday, helped by better than expected economic data. A late-session rally helped the major averages to finish the month of May on a high note, further building on recent gains.
Oil rallied to a six-month high on Friday and capped its biggest monthly gain in a decade. Prices are on the rise in recent weeks with hopes improving for energy demand. Light sweet crude for July delivery settled at US$66.31 on the New York Mercantile Exchange, up US$1.23 on the session.
The Australian market closed higher on Friday. The S&P/ASX 200 Index ended at 3818, with a gain of 62 points or 1.65% and the All Ordinaries Index closed at 3813, with a gain of 59.40 points or 1.58%.
In economic news on Monday, the Australian Bureau of Statistics releases business indicators for the March quarter and retail trade data for April. Also, the index gauging the performance of Australian manufacturing in May, provided by the Australian Industry Group and PricewaterhouseCoopers will be released, in addition to the TD-Melbourne Institute Inflation Gauge for June.
Other economic data due include the Housing Industry Association new-home sales report for April and the Reserve Bank of Australia index of commodity prices for April.
In the currency market, the Australian dollar opened above US$0.80 for the first time in eight months on Monday on a surge in risk appetite, as the safe-haven U.S. dollar continued to weaken. In early trades, the local unit was trading at US$0.8017-US$0.8019, up from Friday's close of US$0.7927-US$0.7929.
In Monday's trading, mining stocks are trading higher. BHP Billion is up 1.56%, while Rio Tinto is advancing 1.92%.
Gold miners are trading mixed despite higher gold prices. Lihir Gold is declining 0.31% and Sino Gold is down 1.23%, while Newcrest is adding 1.40%. Gold posted its highest close in more than three months on Friday as a weaker U.S. dollar boosted the metal's hedge appeal. June gold finished the session at US$978.80 per ounce, up US$17.30 for the session.
Banking stocks are mostly trading weak. ANZ bank is easing 0.31%, National Bank is losing 0.23% and Westpac is down 0.85%. Commonwealth Bank is adding 0.28%.
In the oil sector, Oil Search is advancing 1.10%, while Santos and Woodside are adding 0.21%. Woodside said it is looking to use the Port of Broome in Western Australia as a service hub for its browse Basin liquefied natural gas development.
A trading halt in shares of BC Iron were turned into a suspension as the mining company continued to negotiate the details of access to Fortescue Metal's rail and port facilities in Western Australia.
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