(RTTNews.com) - The Australian stock market is edging lower on Monday following the weak cues from Wall Street on Friday after an escalation in trade tensions between the U.S. and China. In addition, weak commodity prices weighed on resources stocks.
In late-morning trades, the benchmark S&P/ASX 200 Index is down 4.60 points or 0.08 percent to 6,089.40, off a low of 6,085.30 earlier. The broader All Ordinaries Index is declining 5.10 points or 0.08 percent to 6,200.20.
In the banking space, National Australia Bank, ANZ Banking, Commonwealth Bank and Westpac are higher in a range of 0.4 percent to 0.7 percent.
Among the major miners, BHP Billiton is losing more than 2 percent, Rio Tinto is down almost 2 percent and Fortescue Metals is declining more than 1 percent.
South32 has made a $1.3 billion bid to take sole ownership of U.S.-focused Canadian miner Arizona Mining. Shares of South32 are down almost 3 percent.
Shares in junior miner Atlas Iron are in a trading halt ahead of an expected announcement "regarding a control transaction proposal".
Gold miners Evolution Mining and Newcrest Mining are lower by more than 1 percent each after gold prices tumbled to three-week lows on Friday.
Oil stocks are also weak after crude oil prices fell on Friday. Santos, Oil Search and Woodside Petroleum are all lower by more than 1 percent each.
In the currency market, the Australian dollar is lower against the U.S. dollar on Monday amid the escalation in U.S.-China trade tensions. The local unit was trading at US$0.7443, down from US$0.7457 on Friday.
On Wall Street, stocks closed lower on Friday amid renewed trade war concerns after President Donald Trump announced plans to impose a 25 percent tariff on $50 billion worth of Chinese goods that contain "industrially significant technologies." In retaliation, China announced new tariffs on 545 products imported from U.S., including agricultural products, vehicles and aquatic products.
The Dow fell 84.83 points or 0.3 percent to 25,090.48, the Nasdaq dipped 14.66 points or 0.2 percent to 7,746.38 and the S&P 500 edged down 3.07 points or 0.1 percent at 2,779.42.
The European markets also closed lower on Friday. While the U.K.'s FTSE 100 Index plunged by 1.7 percent, the German DAX Index and the French CAC 40 Index dropped by 0.7 percent and 0.5 percent, respectively.
Crude oil futures tumbled Friday, hitting fresh two-week lows amid expectations OPEC will ramp up demand. July WTI oil fell $1.83 or 2.7 percent to settle at $65.06 a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange.
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