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Australia Market gains on COVID-19 vaccine progress

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The Australian share market finished session higher on Tuesday, 17 November 2020, as investor sentiments boosted on tracking record finish of Wall Street overnight after more upbeat news on the coronavirus vaccine front, with Moderna reporting positive results from a trial of its vaccine candidate.

At closing bell, the benchmark S&P/ASX200 added 13.88 points, or 0.21%, to 6,498.21. The broader All Ordinaries rose 10.83 points, or 0.16%, to 6,697.84.

Shares of the financials and energy sectors advanced the most while materials also provided solid support. Energy stocks were supported by a 3% lift in global oil prices as the vaccine progress continued to add to demand expectations. Oil Search (OSH) was 4.5% higher with Beach Energy (BPT) adding 6.5%. Woodside (WPL) gained 3.4% as did Santos (STO).

Shares of the big banks and miners also contributed to broader market improvements.

Among the big four lenders, ANZ Bank (ANZ) and Westpac (WBC) were leading with gains of 2.4% and 2.3%. National Bank (NAB) was 1.6% higher while Commonwealth Bank (CBA) lifted 1.2%. Meanwhile BHP Group (BHP) advanced 2.5%.

In economic news, members of the Reserve Bank of Australia's monetary policy board felt that the country's economic recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic was well underway, but would be protracted, minutes from the central bank's November 3 meeting revealed on Tuesday. To that end, the members agreed that fiscal and monetary support would likely be required for some time. At the meeting, the RBA decided to lower its key cash rate by 15 basis points to a record low of 0.10 percent. It also decided to cut the target for the yield on the 3-year Australian Government bond to around 0.1 percent and to purchase A$100 billion government bonds of maturities of around 5 to 10 years over the next six months.

CURRENCY NEWS: The Australian dollar was at 0.7323 against the dollar, strengthening from the 0.72 mark yesterday.

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(This story has not been edited by Business Standard staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)

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First Published: Tue, November 17 2020. 14:18 IST