Australian Market Modestly Higher | Nasdaq

(RTTNews) – The Australian stock market is modestly higher on Wednesday, extending the gains in the previous session, with the benchmark S&P/ASX 200 moving above the 7,200 level, following the broadly positive cues overnight from Wall Street, with technology and financial stocks leading the gains as traders digest company earnings reports, particularly from Commonwealth Bank.

Concerns over the domestic Covid-19 cases have also softened despite a recent spike in cases is some areas. New South Wales reported 10,312 new cases and 20 deaths on Tuesday and Victoria also reported 9,908 new cases and 21 deaths. Queensland recorded 6,902 new cases and 24 deaths, ACT reported 475 new cases and Tasmania reported 574 new cases and two deaths.

The benchmark S&P/ASX 200 Index is gaining 17.60 points or 0.25 percent to 7,204.30, after touching a high of 7,243.60 earlier. The broader All Ordinaries Index is up 18.10 points or 0.24 percent to 7,507.10. Australian stocks ended sharply higher on Tuesday.

Among major miners, BHP Group is losing almost 1 percent, while OZ Minerals is edging up 0.5 percent, Fortescue Metals is gaining more than 1 percent and Rio Tinto is advancing almost 1 percent.

Mineral Resources is plunging more than 7 percent after the lithium and iron ore miner reported a drop in half-year earnings amid drop in iron ore prices and worker shortages and said it will not pay an interim dividend.

Oil stocks are lower tumbled as oil prices fell sharply for a second straight session. Woodside Petroleum, Beach energy and Santos are losing more than 2 percent each, while Origin Energy is declining almost 1 percent.

In the tech space, WiseTech Global is gaining almost 1 percent and Appen is adding almost 2 percent, while Xero and Block are edging up 0.3 percent each. Zip is losing almost 1 percent.

Among the big four banks, ANZ Banking and National Australia Bank are gaining almost 1 percent each, while Westpac advancing almost 2 percent.

Commonwealth Bank is adding more than 4 percent after it reported higher than expected jump in half-year cash profit on growth in mortgage and business loans. It also declared an interim dividend and an additional $2 billion share buyback.

Among gold miners, Newcrest Mining and Evolution Mining are edging up 0.3 percent each, while Resolute Mining is gaining 3.5 percent. Northern Star Resources is edging down 0.4 percent and Gold Road Resources is losing almost 1 percent.

In other news, shares in Computershare are surging more than 10 percent after the company reported a jump in profit and upgraded full year guidance. It also declared an interim dividend.

In the currency market, the Aussie dollar is trading at $0.715 on Wednesday.

On Wall Street, stocks moved mostly higher over the course of the trading day on Tuesday, more than offsetting the weakness seen on Monday. The major averages climbed firmly into positive territory after showing a lack of direction early in the session.

The major averages saw further upside going into the close, reaching new highs for the session. The Dow jumped 371.65 points or 1.1 percent to 35,462.78, the Nasdaq surged 178.79 points or 1.3 percent to 14,194.46 and the S&P 500 advanced 37.67 points or 0.8 percent to 4,521.54.

Meanwhile, the major European markets turned in a mixed performance on the day. While the U.K.’s FTSE 100 Index edged down by 0.1 percent, the German DAX Index and the French CAC 40 Index rose by 0.2 percent and 0.3 percent, respectively.

Crude oil prices settled sharply lower Tuesday, extending losses from the previous session. Oil prices dropped with traders eyeing U.S.-Iran talks, which if successful could flood the market. West Texas Intermediate Crude oil futures for March dropped $1.96 or about 2.2 percent at $89.36 a barrel.

The views and opinions expressed herein are the views and opinions of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Nasdaq, Inc.

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