Headline indices of the Australia stock market were higher on Friday, 20 July 2018, shrugging off weak cues overnight from Wall Street and lower base metal prices. Most of ASX sectors advanced, with shares of financials, industrial and energy issues being notable gainers which helped offset weakness in materials stocks. The benchmark S&P/ASX 200 Index inclined 19.10 points or 0.3% to 6,281.80. The broader All Ordinaries Index added by 18.09 points or 0.3% to 6,373.10.

Shares of financial companies were key contributor to the index gains, with 'Big Four' banks ANZ Banking, National Australia Bank, Commonwealth Bank and Westpac were higher in a range of 0.5% to 1%.

Energy stocks were also higher after crude oil prices rose 1% overnight. Woodside Petroleum, Oil Search, and Santos were higher in a range of 1% to 2%. Oil Search said it's part-owned PNG LNG project has signed a three-year gas supply deal with PetroChina.

Shares of materials and resources were lower, weighed down by drop in base metal prices amid fund-selling accelerated on worries about demand from the trade tussle between the United States and top consumer China. BHP Billiton, Fortescue Metals and Rio Tinto declined in a range of 1% to 2%.

OFFSHORE MARKET NEWS: US stock market closed down on Thursday, due to negative reaction to disappointing earnings news from several big-name companies. The Dow slid 134.79 points or 0.5% to 25,064.50, the Nasdaq fell 29.15 points or 0.4% to 7,825.30 and the S&P 500 dropped 11.13 points or 0.4% to 2,804.49.

The major European markets closed mixed on Thursday. The U.K.'s FTSE 100 Index inched up by 0.1%, while the French CAC 40 Index and the German DAX Index both slid by 0.6%.

COMMODITY NEWS: Crude oil prices were mixed on Thursday. The Brent crude oil price dropped on rising oversupply concerns and US dollar strength. But Saudi Arabia's OPEC Governor Adeeb Al-Aama said that crude oil exports would fall by around 100,000 barrels per day in August to limit excess production. Brent crude fell by US32 cents or 0.4% to US$72.58 a barrel, but the US Nymex rose by US70 cents or 1% to US$69.46 a barrel.

Base metal prices were down on the London Metal Exchange (LME) on Thursday. Copper (-1.4%) fell below US$6,000 a tonne during the trading session for the first time in 12 months as the US dollar strengthened and concerns over the impact of tariffs on global growth re-intensified. Tin rose by just 0.1%.



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