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Headline indices of the Australian financial market closed higher for the first time in five days on Thursday, 14 March 2019, as investors chased for bargain hunting on tracking overnight gains on Wall Street after U.S. durable goods orders data for January released overnight bolstered sentiment. However, market gains were limited after data showed growth in China's industrial output growth fell to a 17-year low in the first two months of the year and as British lawmakers overnight rejected the idea of leaving the European Union without a Brexit deal in place. At closing bell, the benchmark S&P/ASX200 index added 18.40 points, or 0.3%, at 6,179.59 points, while the broader All Ordinaries rose 20.78 points, or 0.33%, at 6,266.79.

Shares of energy companies advanced after crude oil futures rallied more than 1% overnight as Saudi Arabia pledged to cut exports and a blackout in Venezuela disrupted both production and exports. Among energy players, Santos, Woodside Petroleum, Oil Search, Beach Energy add between 1.39% and 3.5%.

Mining stocks were also higher. Mining giant BHP was up 0.8%, Rio Tinto was up 1% and Fortescue Metals was up 0.5%.

The big four banks - ANZ, Commonwealth, NAB and Westpac - were down between 0.2% and 0.7%, with ANZ the worst hit.

CURRENCY: The Australian dollar was up against the U.S. dollar on Thursday. The Aussie dollar was quoted at 70.62 US cents, up from 70.96 on Wednesday.

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