(RTTNews.com) - The Australian stock market is declining on Wednesday despite the positive cues overnight from Wall Street as weak commodity prices dragged resources stocks lower, offsetting gains by banks. Investors are also cautious as they await the outcome of the U.S. midterm elections.
The benchmark S&P/ASX 200 Index is declining 20.20 points or 0.34 percent to 5,855.00, after touching a low of 5,844.60 earlier. The broader All Ordinaries Index is down 19.70 points or 0.33 percent to 5,939.00. Australian stocks also ended notably higher on Tuesday.
Among the major miners, BHP and Fortescue Metals are declining more than 1 percent each, while Rio Tinto is down 0.7 percent.
Oil stocks are also weak after crude oil prices fell for a seventh straight session overnight. Santos is losing 1 percent, while Woodside Petroleum and Oil Search are down almost 1 percent each.
Gold miners are mixed after gold prices declined overnight. Newcrest Mining is lower by 0.7 percent while Evolution Mining is rising almost 2 percent.
Meanwhile, the big four banks are advancing. National Australia Bank, ANZ Banking and Westpac are higher in a range of 0.2 percent to 1.2 percent.
Commonwealth Bank reported a 4.8 percent decline in full-year profit, hit by more than A$1 billion in anti-money laundering fines, customer remediation and royal commission costs. However, the bank's shares are rising 0.5 percent.
Bega Cheese said it plans to vote in favor of selling its 15.6 percent stake in Capilano Honey to a China-focused consortium. The company's shares are declining more than 1 percent.
Kogan.com has signed a deal to distribute a March & McLennan-owned Mercer product under the Kogan brand, signalling its entry into Australia'sA$2.7 trillion superannuation industry. However, the online retailer's shares are losing almost 4 percent.
On the economic front, Australia will see October results for the Performance of Construction Index from the Australian Industry Group today.
In the currency market, the Australian dollar rose to a five-day high against the U.S. dollar on Wednesday. The local currency was quoted at $0.7236, up from $0.7216 on Tuesday.
On Wall Street, stocks closed higher on Tuesday, continuing to recover from the sell-off seen in October. However, traders seemed reluctant to make more significant moves amid uncertainty about the outcome of today's highly anticipated midterm elections and as they looked ahead to the Federal Reserve's monetary policy announcement due on Thursday.
The Dow advanced 173.31 points or 0.7 percent to 25,635.01, the Nasdaq climbed 47.11 points or 0.6 percent to 7,375.96 and the S&P 500 rose 17.14 points or 0.6 percent to 2,755.45.
The major European markets moved to the downside on Tuesday. While the German DAX Index edged down by 0.1 percent, the French CAC 40 Index fell by 0.5 percent and the U.K.'sFTSE 100 Index slid by 0.9 percent.
Crude oil prices drifted lower on Tuesday, extending their slide to a seventh successive session. WTI crude for December lost $0.89 or 1.4 percent to close at $62.21 a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange.
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