Australian Market Declines

(RTTNews) - The Australian stock market is declining on Friday despite the positive cues overnight from Wall Street. Investors remained cautious amid uncertainty about final approval of the draft Brexit deal and looked ahead to the release of China's GDP data for the third quarter later today.

The benchmark S&P/ASX 200 Index is losing 25.10 points or 0.38 percent to 6,659.60, off a low of 6,658.50 earlier. The broader All Ordinaries Index is down 24.10 points or 0.35 percent to 6,767.40. Australian stocks closed lower on Thursday to snap a five-session winning streak.

In the banking space, ANZ Banking, Commonwealth Bank, National Australia Bank and Westpac are lower in a range of 0.4 percent to 0.7 percent.

Gold miner Newcrest Mining is declining 0.5 percent and Evolution Mining is lower by 0.2 percent despite an increase in gold prices overnight.

Oil stocks are also mostly lower despite crude oil prices advancing more than 1 percent overnight. Woodside Petroleum is lower by almost 1 percent and Santos is down 0.5 percent, while Oil Search is adding 0.2 percent.

Meanwhile, the major miners are mostly higher. Fortescue Metals is gaining almost 3 percent and Rio Tinto is advancing more than 1 percent, while BHP Billiton is down 0.1 percent.

Seven West Media will merge with regional affiliate Prime Media Group in a A$63.8 million all-stock deal expected to be completed in January. Shares of Seven West are advancing almost 2 percent.

Shares of Southern Cross Media, which has agreed to buy Seven West's WA radio network Redwave for A$28 million, are rising more than 2 percent.

In the currency market, the Australian dollar is higher against the U.S. dollar on Friday. The local currency was quoted at $0.6826, up from $0.6783 on Thursday.

On Wall Street, stocks closed higher in reaction to news that U.K. and European Union negotiators have reached a last-minute Brexit deal. European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker described the deal as "fair and balanced" for the EU and the U.K, and urged member nations to back the agreement. Uncertainty about final approval of the deal helped to limit the upside for the markets along with the release of some disappointing U.S. economic data.

The Dow bounced back and forth across the unchanged line before closing up 23.90 points or 0.1 percent to 27,025.88. The Nasdaq climbed 32.67 points or 0.4 percent to 8,156.85 and the S&P 500 rose 8.26 points or 0.3 percent to 2,997.95.

The major European markets closed mixed on Thursday. While the U.K.'s FTSE 100 Index rose by 0.2 percent, the German DAX Index edged down by 0.1 percent and the French CAC 40 Index fell by 0.4 percent.

Crude oil prices rebounded after early weakness and settled higher on Thursday. WTI crude for November ended up $0.57, or about 1.1 percent, at $53.93 a barrel.

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

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