TOKYO, June 19- Oil prices extended gains into a second session on Wednesday, buoyed by rekindled hopes for a U.S.- China trade deal and potential economic stimulus from the European Central Bank. Tensions in the Middle East after tanker attacks there last week also supported oil markets. Brent crude futures were up 20 cents, or 0.3%, at $62.34 a barrel by 0644 GMT.
The U.S. Transportation Department is expected to provide tentative approval to a bid by American Airlines and Qantas Airways to operate a joint venture, two people briefed on the matter said on Sunday.
Ride-hailing drivers are protesting low wages as Uber prepares to follow Lyft on to the public market. Drivers have been saying for years that the services pay too little and unfairly avoid offering additional benefits by classifying them as contractors instead of full-time employees. Both Uber and Lyft have offered rewards to their most active and long-standing drivers as part of their IPOs.
Australia's long decline in home prices continued in April amid lackluster demand and tight credit, though the pace of losses eased as auction clearance rates stabilized in the major cities.
The dollar advanced across the board on Tuesday as financial markets re-opened after the Easter holiday and traders favored the greenback ahead of the release on Friday of U.S. gross domestic product data for the first three months of 2019.
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Oil prices rose on Monday, adding to gains in the first quarter when the major benchmarks posted their biggest increases in nearly a decade, as concerns about supplies outweigh fears of a slowing global economy.
The U.S. dollar fell sharply against a basket of major currencies on Wednesday, after the Federal Reserve held U.S. interest rates steady and its policymakers abandoned projections for further rate hikes this year as the central bank flagged an expected slowdown in the economy.
Australia's economy slowed sharply in the second half of last year as consumers shut their wallets and housing construction pulled back, data showed on Wednesday, sending the local currency to a two-month trough.
Rio Tinto beat expectations when it reported its highest annual underlying earnings since 2014 and announced a bumper dividend after a string of divestments.
Australia's biggest casino company Crown Resorts reported on Wednesday a sharp decline in spending by wealthy Chinese tourists at its properties, pushing its shares down in their biggest one-day fall in more than two years.
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Australia's corporate regulators will be subjected to a new oversight body in a shake-up of the banking sector designed to combat the excessive greed and unethical practices that have engulfed some of the country's biggest financial institutions.
Power outages hit around 45,000 homes across Sydney's upmarket eastern suburbs on Thursday as a forecast 40 degrees Celsius (104 degrees Fahrenheit) heatwave hit the harborside city.
Australian police said on Thursday they had arrested a 48-year-old man for sending as many as 38 suspicious packages to diplomatic embassies and consulates across the country.
Andrew Hay of Knight Frank says Australia is "offering a set of circumstances which are hard to find" anywhere else in the world.
The ruling Liberal Party saw a 20 percent swing against it at a by-election in Sydney, leaving the government reliant on support of five independents to survive.
A United Airlines flight from Los Angeles landed safely in Sydney Thursday after the pilot warned the plane was running low on fuel, officials said.
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The Reserve Bank of Australia held interest rates at a record low of 1.5 percent when its August policy meeting ended on Tuesday.