Australian Market Rises

Australian Market Rises

Australian Market Rises

The FINANCIAL -- The Australian stock market is higher on October 1, following the strong positive cues overnight from Wall Street and European markets. Better-than-expected local manufacturing data also helped boost sentiment, according to Nasdaq.

In late-morning trades, the benchmark S&P/ASX200 Index is adding 41.00 points or 0.82 percent to 5,062.60, off a high of 5,068.40 earlier. The broader All Ordinaries Index is up 38.00 points or 0.75 percent to 5,096.00.

The big four banks, ANZ Banking, Commonwealth Bank, Westpac (WBK) and National Australia Bank, are all higher in a range of 0.5 percent to 0.8 percent.

ANZ Banking said its chief executive Mike Smith is stepping down and will be replaced by chief financial officer Shayne Elliot.

In the mining space, BHP Billiton (BHP) is adding more than 1 percent and Rio Tinto (RIO) is up 0.6 percent, while Fortescue Metals is losing more than 1 percent.

Oz Minerals' share are rising almost 13 percent following a media report that private equity firm KKR & Co. is exploring the acquisition of a 10 percent stake in the gold and copper miner.

Gold miner Newcrest Mining said it has sold off its remaining stake in rival Evolution for A$125 million and used the proceeds to pay off debt. Shares of Newcrest Mining are down 0.5 percent, while Evolution Mining is up more than 1 percent.

Arrium said it has received strong interest for its mining consumables business and is shortlisting the bidders to undertake due diligence. Shares of the steel and mining group are up more than 1 percent.

Among oil stocks, Santos and Woodside Petroleum are adding more than 1 percent each, while Oil Search is up almost 1 percent.

News Corp. has sold its U.S. digital education business Amplify to a management team supported by a group of private investors for undisclosed financial terms. The company's shares are advancing more than 1 percent.

On the economic front, the Australian Industry Group said that the manufacturing sector in Australia continued to expand in September, and at an accelerated rate, with a Performance of Manufacturing Index score of 52.1. That's up from 51.7 in August, and it moves further above the boom-or-bust line of 50 that separates expansion from contraction.

Australia will also release August numbers for job vacancies later in the day.

In the currency market, the Australian dollar rose against the U.S. dollar, helped by weak European inflation data that could pave the way for more stimulus from the European Central Bank. In early trades October 1, the local unit was trading at US$0.7018, up from Wednesday's close of US$0.6995.

On Wall Street, stocks closed sharply higher on September 30, partly in reaction to rallies by stocks overseas. Traders also reacted positively to a report from payroll processor ADP showing stronger than expected private sector job growth in the month of September.

The Dow jumped 235.57 points or 1.5 percent to 16,284.70, the Nasdaq soared 102.84 points or 2.3 percent to 4,620.16 and the S&P 500 surged up 35.94 points or 1.9 percent at 1,920.03.

The major European markets also showed substantial moves to the upside on September 30. While the German DAX Index jumped by 2.2 percent, the U.K.'s FTSE 100 Index and the French CAC 40 Index both shot up by 2.6 percent.

U.S. crude oil futures ended slightly lower on September 30, after a report from the U.S. Energy Information Administration showed an increase in crude stockpiles last week, although the loss was somewhat limited as domestic production declined due to the refinery maintenance season.

Crude Oil futures for November delivery, the most actively traded contract, dropped $0.14 or 0.3 percent to settle at $45.09 a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange on September 30.