By RTT News,
January 29, 2014, 08:47:00 PM EDT
(RTTNews.com) - The Australian stock market is trading notably lower on Thursday, tracking cues from Wall Street where the major averages ended lower following the U.S. Federal Reserve announcing plans to scale back its bond purchases by another $10 billion to $65 billion a month.
Mirroring widespread selling, all the sectoral indices are currently down in negative territory. Financial, consumer discretionary, mining, energy and industrial stocks are mostly trading notably lower.
The benchmark S&P/ASX 200 index, which tumbled to 5,161.5, is currently trading at 5,182.5, down 46.5 points or 0.9 percent from its previous close. The broader All Ordinaries index is down 46 points or 0.9 percent at 5,194.6, nearly 20 points off the day's low of 5,175.2.
Bank stocks ANZ Bank, Commonwealth Bank of Australia, National Australia Bank and Westpac (WBK) are down 0.8 to 1.4 percent.
Top miners BHP Billiton (BHP) and Rio Tinto (RIO) are trading lower by 0.9 percent and 0.3 percent, respectively.
Treasury Wine Estates is down more than 16 percent following the company downgrading its earnings guidance in the wake of weaker than expected sales.
James Hardie Industries, Downer EDI, Monadelphous Group and Toll Holdings are trading lower by 3 to 4.2 percent. Alumina (AWC), Challenger, Beach Energy, Tabcorp Holdings, Perpetual and Graincorp are down 2 to 2.8 percent.
Navitas is down more than 2 percent despite posting a three percent profit increase. Seek, Harvey Norman Holdings, Leighton Holdings and Myer Holdings are also trading sharply lower.
On the economic front, export prices in Australia were down 0.5 percent in the fourth quarter of 2013 compared to the previous three months, the Australian Bureau of Statistics said on Thursday. That missed forecasts for a decline of 0.2 percent on quarter following the 4.2 percent increase in the third quarter.
Import prices dipped 0.6 percent on quarter - well shy of expectations for an increase of 2.0 percent after jumping 6.1 percent in the previous three months. On a yearly basis, export prices were up 6.2 percent and import prices climbed 5.2 percent.
In the currency market, the Australian dollar opened lower against the U.S. dollar following interest rate hikes in Turkey and South Africa and the U.S. Federal Reserve's tapering announcement. In early trades, the local unit was quoting at US$0.8750, down from Wednesday's close of US$0.8802.
On Wall Street, stocks saw significant weakness on Wednesday, as a negative reaction to the Federal Reserve's widely anticipated decision to continue scaling back stimulus weighed on the markets. As was widely expected, the Fed announced plans to scale back its bond purchases by another $10 billion to $65 billion a month.
The major averages moved roughly sideways going into the close, stuck firmly in negative territory. The Dow tumbled 189.8 points or 1.2 percent to 15,738.8, the Nasdaq dropped 46.5 points or 1.1 percent to 4,051.4 and the S&P 500 slid 18.3 points or 1 percent to 1,774.2.
Major European markets too ended weak on Wednesday. While the U.K.'s FTSE 100 index dipped by 0.4 percent, the French CAC 40 index and the German DAX index declined by 0.7 percent and 0.8 percent, respectively.
U.S. crude oil ended slightly lower on Wednesday, after the official Energy Information Administration's weekly report showed a more than expected jump in U.S. crude stockpiles, with gasoline and distillate inventories declining more than anticipated.
Crude for March delivery ended down $0.05 at US$97.36 a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange, after touching a low of US$96.32 intraday.
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