Taking cues from Wall Street, the Australian stock market opened on a firm note this morning and is trading with a small gain now with energy, financials and industrials stocks calling the shots. Consumer staples, consumer discretionary and healthcare stocks are trading weak. Materials have slipped after a positive start and are currently seen trading weak.

The benchmark S&P/ASX200 index opened at 3,690 and edged past 3,700 before facing some resistance Currently, the index is trading at 3,685, up 7 points over its previous close.

ANZ Bank, National Bank and Commonwealth Bank of Australia are trading marginally higher. AGL Energy, BHP Billiton, Rio Tinto and Woodside Petroleum are up with sharp gains.

IBA Health Group Limited (iSoft) has announced that it has won a contract for hospital information system with a National Health Services trust in southern England worth $5 million over five years.

The Australian dollar, moving in a listless way, is trading at 0.7060 against the U.S. dollar.

Most Asian markets had ended with big losses in the previous session after Wall Street tumbled on Monday on renewed concerns over mounting bad loans.

However, on Tuesday, the U.S. markets ended firm with investors picking up stocks after initial hesitancy though corporate results were mixed. Stocks, particularly those from the financial sector, climbed up sharply and ended on a firm note with US Bancorp providing the trigger by announcing better-than-expected first quarter earnings. Encouraging results from Texas Instruments pushed up semiconductor stocks.

Comments from Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner contributed significantly to Wall Street's positive close yesterday. Geithner assured the Congressional Oversight Panel that there is enough money left in the government's $700 billion financial rescue program to stabilize the financial system and that the 'vast majority' of U.S. banks have enough capital and that the credit markets may be thawing following their deep freeze.

The Dow ended stronger by 128 points and the Nasdaq closed up 36 points.

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