Australian Market Declines

( - The Australian stock market is declining on Friday following the weak cues overnight from Wall Street amid worries about global economic growth after the European Commission lowered its eurozone growth forecast.

Concerns about the U.S.-China trade dispute also weighed on sentiment after U.S. President Donald Trump said he did not plan to meet with Chinese President Xi Jinping before a key March deadline. Stocks are lower across the board.

The benchmark S&P/ASX 200 Index is losing 25.60 points or 0.42 percent to 6,066.90, after touching a low of 6,058.20 earlier. The broader All Ordinaries Index is down 25.20 points or 0.41 percent to 6,133.90. Australian stocks rose more than 1 percent on Thursday as a sliding Australian dollar lifted commodity-related and healthcare stocks.

Among the major miners, Rio Tinto is losing more than 1 percent, while BHP Group and Fortescue Metals are declining almost 1 percent each.

Gold miners are mixed after gold prices edged lower overnight. Newcrest Mining is down 0.6 percent, while Evolution Mining is rising 0.5 percent.

In the banking space, ANZ Banking, Westpac and National Australia Bank are lower in a range of 0.1 percent to 0.6 percent, while Commonwealth Bank is rising 0.6 percent.

On Thursday, National Australia Bank announced the resignation of chief executive Andrew Thorburn and chairman Ken Henry.

Oil stocks are weak after crude oil prices declined more than 2 percent overnight. Santos is lower by more than 3 percent, Oil Search is losing almost 3 percent, and Woodside Petroleum is down more than 1 percent.

REA Group, which is 61.6 percent owned by News Corp., said its Australian real estate listings declined 3 percent in the first half and the company warned of further possible declines in the second half of the year due to Federal and State elections. The company's shares are losing more than 4 percent.

In the currency market, the Australian dollar is flat against the U.S. dollar on Friday. The local currency was quoted at $0.7100, compared to $0.7099 on Thursday.

On Wall Street, stocks closed notably lower on Thursday amid renewed concerns about a U.S.-China trade deal after a report from CNBC said President Donald Trump and Chinese President Xi Jinping are "highly unlikely" to meet before a March 2 deadline. Worries about the global economy also weighed on the markets after the European Commission lowered its eurozone growth forecast.

The Dow slumped 220.77 points or 0.9 percent to 25,169.53, the Nasdaq plunged 86.93 points or 1.2 percent to 7,288.35 and the S&P 500 tumbled 25.56 points or 0.9 percent to 2,706.05.

The major European markets also moved notably lower on Thursday. While the German DAX Index plunged by 2.7 percent, the French CAC 40 Index tumbled by 1.8 percent and the U.K.'sFTSE 100 Index slumped by 1.1 percent.

Crude oil prices declined on Thursday amid concerns about demand growth due to the ongoing trade dispute between the U.S. and China. Crude for March delivery dropped $1.37 or 2.5 percent to $52.64 a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange.

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