Australian Market Rises After Pfizer/BioNTech COVID-19 Vaccine Approval

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(RTTNews) – The Australian stock market is modestly higher on Monday following the mixed cues from Wall Street Friday. Investor sentiment received a boost following news that the Pfizer/BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine has been approved for use in Australia, with the phased vaccine rollout set to commence in late February.

The benchmark S&P/ASX 200 Index is adding 11.20 points or 0.16 percent to 6,811.60, after touching a high of 6,827.40. The broader All Ordinaries Index is advancing 15.00 points or 0.21 percent to 7,093.90. The Australian market closed lower on Friday.

Among the major miners, Fortescue Metals is gaining more than 3 percent, Rio Tinto is advancing 1 percent and BHP Group is adding almost 1 percent.

The big four banks – Westpac, Commonwealth Bank, National Australia Bank and ANZ Banking – are higher in a range of 0.2 percent to 0.6 percent.

In the tech space, Appen is rising almost 2 percent, Afterpay is advancing more than 1 percent and WiseTech Global is adding 0.2 percent.

Meanwhile, oil stocks are lower after crude oil prices fell on Friday. Oil Search and Woodside Petroleum are declining more than 1 percent each, while Santos is down almost 1 percent.

Gold miners are also weak after gold prices dropped on Friday. Newcrest Mining is losing more than 1 percent and Evolution Mining is down 0.7 percent.

On Wall Street, stocks showed a notable move to the downside at the start of trading on Friday, but managed to regain ground over the course of the session and close mixed. Profit taking contributed to the initial weakness on Wall Street, as some traders looked to cash in on the recent run to new record highs. Selling pressure waned over the course of the session, however, as traders shrugged off uncertainty about President Joe Biden’s proposed $1.9 trillion coronavirus relief package.

While the Nasdaq inched up 12.15 points or 0.1 percent to a record closing high of 13,543.06, the Dow slid 179.03 points or 0.6 percent to 30,996.98 and the S&P 500 fell 11.60 points or 0.3 percent to 3,841.47.

The major European markets moved to the downside on Friday. While the French CAC 40 Index slid by 0.6 percent, the U.K.’s FTSE 100 Index dipped by 0.3 percent and the German DAX Index edged down by 0.2 percent.

Crude oil prices slid on Friday after data showed a notable rise in U.S. crude inventories in the week ended January 15 and rising coronavirus cases and lockdown measures in several places raised concerns about the outlook for energy demand. WTI crude dropped $0.86 or about 1.6 percent to $52.27 a barrel.

Bastion Balance Seoul, Korea.