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Australian Market Rises Ahead Of RBA Decision

The Australian stock market is rising for a second straight day on Tuesday following the overnight rebound on Wall Street as the markets shrugged off concerns about speculative trading by retail investors.

Investors now look ahead to the Reserve Bank of Australia’s monetary policy decision due later today. The RBA is widely expected to keep its benchmark lending rate unchanged at the record low of 0.10 percent.

The benchmark S&P/ASX 200 Index is advancing 50.30 points or 0.75 percent to 6,713.30, after touching a high of 6,741.10. The broader All Ordinaries Index is adding 55.00 points or 0.79 percent to 6,977.80. Australian stocks hit two-month lows before reversing direction to end notably higher on Monday.

In the tech sector, Afterpay is gaining more than 6 percent, WiseTech Global is advancing more than 4 percent and Appen is higher by more than 3 percent.

Among the major miners, Rio Tinto is climbing more than 3 percent, BHP Group is rising more than 2 percent and Fortescue Metals is advancing more than 1 percent.

Oil stocks are higher after crude oil prices rose overnight. Santos and Woodside Petroleum are rising almost 2 percent each, while Oil Search is advancing more than 1 percent.

The big four banks – Commonwealth Bank, National Australia Bank, Westpac and ANZ Banking – are advancing in a range of 0.6 percent to 1.4 percent.

Meanwhile, shares of silver miners are falling as futures contracts for silver fell 2 percent in Asian trading after touching an eight-year high overnight. Investigator Resources is losing more than 23 percent, Argent Minerals is tumbling more than 18 percent, and Adriatic Metals is lower by more than 7 percent.

Gold miners are also weak even as gold prices rose overnight. Evolution Mining is declining more than 1 percent and Newcrest Mining is down 0.6 percent.

On Wall Street, stocks showed a significant rebound on Monday as traders looked to pick up stocks at somewhat reduced levels after the markets saw their biggest weekly decline since October. Traders also kept an eye on heavily-shorted stocks like GameStop and AMC Entertainment, which have seen considerable volatility amid speculative trading by retail investors. The markets largely shrugged off a report from the Institute for Supply Management showing the pace of growth in U.S. manufacturing activity slowed more than expected in January.

The Nasdaq soared 332.70 points or 2.6 percent to 13,403.39 and the S&P 500 jumped 59.62 points or 1.6 percent to 3,773.86. The Dow underperformed its broader counterparts but still ended the day up 229.29 points or 0.8 percent at 30,211.91.

The major European markets also showed strong moves to the upside on Monday. While the German DAX Index spiked by 1.4 percent, the French CAC 40 Index shot up by 1.2 percent and the U.K.’s FTSE 100 Index advanced by 0.9 percent.

Crude oil futures rose on Monday amid optimism about vaccination rollout picking up pace and as the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries and its allies’ production cut agreement became effective. WTI crude for March gained $1.35 or about 2.6 percent to $53.55 a barrel.

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