RTTNews - The Australian stock market managed to end in positive territory on Thursday with marginal gains. Positive closing on Wall Street and higher commodity prices helped markets open trade in positive territory. Surprising trade deficit numbers for May and caution ahead of U.S jobs report influenced traders who preferred to take profits and remain in sidelines.

In the U.S., stocks managed to end the first day of second half in positive territory amid mixed economic data in yet another day characterized by lower volumes.

A report from the Institute for Supply Management said its index of activity in the manufacturing rose to 44.8 in June from 42.8 in May, which came roughly in line with the expectations of economists, who forecast a reading of 44.9. In a separate report, housing industry group NAR said its pending home sales index rose 0.1% to 90.7 in May from an upwardly revised reading of 90.6 in April.

The U.S. Commerce Department revealed that construction spending fell 0.9% in May following a revised 0.6% increase in the previous month. ADP said that non-farm private employment fell by 473,000 jobs in June following a revised decrease of 485,000 jobs in May. Economists had expected a decrease of 394,000 jobs compared to the loss of 532,000 jobs originally reported for the previous month.

The Dow closed up by 57.06 points or 0.7% at 8,504, the Nasdaq rose by 10.68 points or 0.6% to 1,846 and the S&P 500 advanced by 4.01 points or 0.4% to 923.

The All Ordinaries Index opened unchanged from its previous close at 3,872 and moved into the positive territory on positive cues from Wall Street and higher commodity prices. However, caution ahead of U.S job reports and surprise trade deficit for May saw traders taking profit and moving to sidelines. The index managed to end in the green with a gain of 2.90 points, or 0.07% at 3,875. The benchmark S&P/ASX 200 Index followed a similar trend and ended at 3,877, representing a gain of 3.30 points, or 0.09%.

Light sweet crude for August delivery ended at $69.12, down 19 cents in the Asian session after ending Wednesday's volatile session in New York at $69.31, representing a loss of $0.58 a barrel amid concerns about the recovery.

On the economic front, the Australian Bureau of Statistics revealed that the country posted a seasonally adjusted trade deficit of A$556 million in May, double the previous month's trade shortfall. Exports for the month declined 5% or A$1.112 billion to A$20.39 billion in seasonally adjusted terms. On the import side, goods and services declined by 4% percent or A$838 million to A$20.95 billion.

Metal stocks posted gains following rise in metal prices in London Metal Exchange. BHP Billiton gained 1.18%, Rio Tinto edged up 0.29%, and Mincor Resources advanced 2.70%.

Among oil companies, Woodside Petroleum fell 1.86%, and Santos slipped 0.28% and Oil Search lost 1.28%.
Gold stocks advanced following rise in bullion prices. Lihir Gold gained 1.71% and, Newcrest Mining advanced 3.04%. However, Sino Gold ended in negative territory with a loss of 0.81%.

Mixed trading was witnessed among the financial stocks. While ANZ Bank lost 0.74%, Commonwealth Bank Australia fell 1.76%, and Westpac Banking shed 0.51%, National Australia Bank bucked the trend and added 0.74%.

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