(RTTNews) – Adding to the gains in the previous three sessions, Australian shares are trading slightly higher on Wednesday, with the benchmark S&P/ASX 200 staying above the 7,500 level, following the mixed cues from Wall Street overnight, with gains in mining stocks amid higher metal prices, partially offset by weakness in financial stocks.
The benchmark S&P/ASX 200 Index is gaining 3.70 points or 0.05 percent to 7,518.60, after touching a high of 7,536.40 earlier. The broader All Ordinaries Index is up 6.00 points or 0.08 percent to 7,748.10. Australian stocks ended notably higher on Tuesday.
Among major miners, Rio Tinto and BHP Group are gaining more than 1 percent each, while Mineral Resources and Fortescue Metals are adding almost 2 percent each.
Oil stocks are mostly higher. Beach energy, Origin Energy and Woodside Energy are edging up 0.1 to 0.5 percent each, while Santos is flat.
In the tech space, Afterpay owner Block is edging down 0.1 percent, Xero is losing more than 1 percent and WiseTech Global is declining more than 3 percent, while Zip is surging more than 6 percent and Appen is soaring 10.5 percent.
Among the big four banks, National Australia Bank, Westpac and ANZ Banking are edging down 0.2 to 0.5 percent each, while Commonwealth Bank is losing almost 1 percent.
Among gold miners, Newmont is gaining more than 1 percent and Evolution Mining is adding almost 2 percent, while Gold Road Resources and Resolute Mining are advancing almost 4 percent each. Northern Star Resources is surging almost 6 percent after it confirmed guidance amid an “exceptional” performance at Kalgoorlie which offset cost headwinds.
In other news, shares in Nanosonics are plummeting 32 percent after missing sales guidance for the six months to December 31.
Shares in Pilbara Minerals are surging 7 percent on plans to cut capital expenditure guidance by up to 10 percent as lithium prices collapse. It also warned it is unlikely to pay a dividend for the six months ended December 2023.
In economic news, the manufacturing sector in Australia climbed up into expansion territory in January, the latest survey from Judo Bank revealed on Wednesday with a manufacturing PMI score of 50.3. That’s up from 47.6 in December and it moves above the boom-or-bust line of 50 that separates expansion from contraction. Also, the services PMI improved to 47.9 in January from 47.1 in December and the composite index rose to 48.1 from 46.9.
In the currency market, the Aussie dollar is trading at $0.658 on Wednesday.
On the Wall Street, stocks turned in a relatively lackluster performance during trading on Tuesday, with the major averages bouncing back and forth across the unchanged after ending Monday’s trading modestly higher. Despite the choppy trading, the S&P 500 reached a new record closing high.
The major averages eventually ended the session narrowly mixed. While the Dow dipped 96.36 points or 0.3 percent to 37,905.45, the Nasdaq climbed 65.66 points or 0.4 percent to 15,425.94 and the S&P 500 rose 14.17 points or 0.3 percent to 4,864.60.
Meanwhile, the major European markets saw modest weakness on the day. While the U.K.’s FTSE 100 Index closed just below the unchanged, the French CAC 40 Index and the German DAX Index both dipped 0.3 percent.
Crude oil futures eased Tuesday amid uncertainty about the outlook for global oil demand and after Libya restarted production at the Sharara oilfield, which was shut for two weeks due to protests. West Texas Intermediate Crude oil futures for March fell $0.39 or 0.5 percent at $74.37 a barrel.