Australian Stocks Rise, Led By Oil, Mining And Bank Stocks

Australian Stocks Rise, Led By Oil, Mining And Bank Stocks

On Thursday morning, the stocks in Australian market opened strongly, led by oil stocks such as Woodside Petroleum and Santos, and mining stocks such as BHP Billiton, following a drop in price of crude oil futures in the International markets. Strength in the resource stocks, assisted by banking and retail stocks, is driving the local market, despite lower closing in the overnight US markets, which was impacted by lower earnings of Intel and downgrade of Cisco stock by brokerages.

The All Ordinaries Index is presently trading at 5,645.00, up 18.90 points, or 0.34%, while the S&P/ASX 200 Index is trading at 5,665.10, up 19.00 points, or 0.34%.

The Australian dollar is trading at a 2-week high against the US dollar, on speculation that the country’s central bank might raise interest rates in the near future. The local unit was trading at USD 0.7863/68, higher than previous close of USD 0.7836/39 on Wednesday.

Woodside Petroleum, the second-biggest oil producer in the country, led the gains in the stock market, after the company reported a 44% rise in sales and 28% rise in output during the fourth quarter of 2006. The stock gained more the 1.5%.

Telstra continues to gain on the back of stronger than anticipated instalment receipts, rising to a fresh high of A$ 4.45 per share, the highest price since September 2005.

Mining stocks such as BHP Billiton and Rio Tinto were trading in the positive territory. Among the gold stocks, Lihir Gold and Newmont Mining were marginally up against previous close, while New Crest Mining is trading in the negative territory, losing more than 50 cents.

Banking stocks such as Commonwealth Bank, Westpac, St. George Bank and ANZ were trading in the positive territory, led by strength in the banking sector and speculation that the Central Bank may raise interest rates as early as February 2007.

Retail stocks such as Woolworths, Coles, David Jones and Harvey Norman were also trading in the positive territory, taking advantage of the positive momentum in the market.

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