Australian Market Declines

(RTTNews) - The Australian stock market, which was closed for the ANZAC Day holiday on Thursday, is declining on Friday following the mixed cues overnight from Wall Street and lower crude oil prices.

The benchmark S&P/ASX 200 Index is losing 10.60 points or 0.17 percent to 6,371.50, after touching a low of 6,364.80 earlier. The broader All Ordinaries Index is down 12.90 points or 0.20 percent to 6,457.70.

In the mining space, Fortescue Metals is lower by more than 4 percent, BHP Group is declining 0.6 percent and Rio Tinto is down 0.3 percent.

Oil stocks are also weak after crude oil prices declined overnight. Oil Search is down 0.5 percent, Santos is lower by 1 percent and Woodside Petroleum is losing more than 1 percent.

Among the big four banks, ANZ Banking, Commonwealth Bank and National Australia Bank are down in a range of 0.1 percent to 0.3 percent, while Westpac is edging up 0.1 percent.

Gold miner Newcrest Mining is gaining 3 percent and peer Evolution Mining is rising more than 3 percent after a modest increase in gold prices.

Shares of Flight Centre Travel Group are losing more than 12 percent after the travel agency lowered its full-year profit outlook due to a weaker than expected performance in the Australian leisure market.

In economic news, Australia will provide first-quarter numbers for producer prices as well as import and export prices today.

In the currency market, the Australian dollar is almost flat against the U.S dollar on Friday. The local currency was quoted at $0.7014, compared to $0.7016 on Thursday.

On Wall Street, stocks closed mixed in a volatile session on Thursday. A steep drop by shares of 3M weighed on the Dow, after the company reported weaker than expected first-quarter results and lowered its full-year guidance. On the other hand, jumps by shares of Facebook and Microsoft contributed to the modest advance by the tech-heavy Nasdaq.

While the Dow climbed well off its worst levels of the day, the blue chip index still ended the day down 134.97 points or 0.5 percent to 26,462.08. Meanwhile, the Nasdaq rose 16.67 points or 0.2 percent to 8,118.68 and the S&P 500 inched up 1.08 points or less than a tenth of a percent to 2,926.17.

The major European markets all moved to the downside on Thursday. While the U.K.'s FTSE 100 Index fell by 0.5 percent, the French CAC 40 Index and the German DAX Index both dropped by 0.3 percent.

Crude oil futures ended lower Thursday, extending losses from the previous session. WTI crude for June declined $0.68 or 1 percent at $65.21 a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange.

The views and opinions expressed herein are the views and opinions of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Nasdaq, Inc.