The Australian stock market is trading sharply higher on Tuesday, extending Monday's strong gains, following a strong triple-digit gain on Wall Street overnight. In the local market, financial stocks lead the market gainers. In early trading, the benchmark S&P/ASX 200 index was gaining 66 points or 1.86% to 3,616, after closing nearly two-and-a-half percent higher on Monday. The broader All Ordinaries index was up 65 points or 1.86% to 3,548.
In the currency market, the Australian dollar opened stronger for a tenth straight day. The Aussie opened at US$0.7040-0.7042, up from Monday's close of US$0.6965-0.6968.
On Wall Street, U.S. stocks closed Monday's trading session sharply higher, and more than offsetting the losses posted in the two previous sessions, after the U.S. administration released the details of its latest plan to solve the massive, debilitating banking crisis. The Obama administration announced plans to buy up the toxic assets of the nation's major banks, guaranteeing the loans with a combination of public and private sector funds. This was also combined with better than expected data on home sales. The Dow closed up 497 points or 6.84% at 7,776, the Nasdaq gained 99 points or 6.76% to 1,556, and the S&P 500 advanced 54 points or 7.08% to finish at 823.
On the economic front, the markets have very little economic reports to digest in today's trading.
Among banking stocks, Commonwealth Bank of Australia is up 3.68%, ANZ Banking Group is rising 1.70%, and National Australia Bank is adding 2.43%. Westpac is gaining 2.22%, and investment bank Macquarie Group is surging 5.92%.
In the resources sector, index leader BHP Billiton is gaining 2.25%, and Rio Tinto is surging 4.99%. Gold miners were weaker, after gold closed marginally lower for a second straight session on Monday. Lihir Gold is falling 2.06%, Sino Gold is dropping 1.64%, and Newcrest Mining is losing 1.25%.
On Monday, crude oil futures for May delivery closed higher, as the Obama administration's latest plan to help struggling banks boosted the markets and improved prospects for energy demand. Meanwhile, Nigerian unions are meeting with government officials in an effort to avoid a three-day strike that could begin on Wednesday, concerning safety issues in the Niger Delta. Traders are also looking forward to Wednesday's Department of Energy inventory report.
Oil closed up $1.73 at $53.80 a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange on Monday, after hitting an intraday low of $51.62 and a high of $54.05. In the Asian session Tuesday, crude is currently down $0.24 at $53.56 a barrel in electronic trading.
Among energy stocks, Woodside is adding 3.84%, Santos is rising 4.76%, and Oil Search is gaining 3.88%.
In the retail sector, David Jones is gaining 2.08%, and Coles' owner Wesfarmers is adding 1.24%, while Woolworths is losing 1.39%.
Debt-laden miner Oz Minerals Ltd fell more than 12% after the government extended its review into a A$1.8 billion rescue bid by Chinese state-owned Minmetals.
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