(RTTNews.com) - The Australian stock market is declining on Monday following the lackluster cues from Wall Street Friday and data showing a slowdown in China's manufacturing sector in September.
Mining stocks are weak despite higher commodity prices, while banks are among the major losers amid calls to extend the banking royal commission.
In late-morning trades, the benchmark S&P/ASX 200 Index is losing 35.80 points or 0.58 percent to 6,171.80, off a low of 6,165.00. The broader All Ordinaries Index is down 35.60 points or 0.56 percent to 6,289.90. Australian shares closed higher on Friday.
In the banking space, National Australia Bank, ANZ Banking, Commonwealth Bank and Westpac are losing in a range of 0.8 percent to 1.4 percent.
Nationals Senator John Williams has lent his support to Labor's calls for the Hayne Royal Commission to be extended.
In the mining space, Fortescue Metals is down 0.2 percent, BHP Billiton is declining 0.3 percent and Rio Tinto is losing almost 1 percent despite rallies in copper and iron ore prices.
Among gold miners, Evolution Mining is lower by 0.4 percent, while Newcrest Mining is adding 0.3 percent despite higher gold prices.
Oil stocks are mostly higher after crude oil prices rose more than 1 percent overnight. Oil Search is losing 1 percent, while Woodside Petroleum is adding 0.3 percent and Santos is up 0.6 percent.
In the healthcare sector, CSL is advancing almost 1 percent and Cochlear is adding 0.7 percent.
In economic news, the latest survey from the Australian Industry Group revealed that the manufacturing sector in Australia continued to expand in September, and at a faster rate, with a Performance of Manufacturing Index score of 59.0. That's up from 56.7 in August, and it moves further above the boom-or-bust line of 50 that separates expansion from contraction.
Australia will also see September figures for the inflation forecast for TD Securities today.
In the currency market, the Australian dollar is higher against the U.S. dollar on Monday. The local currency was quoted at $0.7224, compared to $0.7218 on Friday.
On Wall Street, stocks closed roughly flat in choppy trading on Friday amid uncertainty about trade as the U.S. and Canada approached a September 30 deadline to reach an agreement for Canada to join a trade deal struck between the U.S. and Mexico.
Traders also kept an eye on developments overseas after the new Italian government offered a budget with a deficit target three times larger than the previous administration's goal.
While the S&P 500 edged down by just 0.02 points to 2,913.98, the Dow inched up 18.38 points or 0.1 percent to 26,458.31 and the Nasdaq crept up 4.38 points or 0.1 percent to 8,046.35.
The major European markets moved to the downside on Friday. The German DAX Index tumbled by 1.5 percent, the French CAC 40 Index slumped by 0.9 percent and the U.K.'sFTSE 100 Index fell by 0.5 percent.
Crude oil prices rose more than 1 percent on Friday amid tightening global supply. WTI crude for November delivery rose $1.13 or 1.6 percent to settle at $73.25 a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange.
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