Australian Market Declines

(RTTNews) - The Australian stock market is declining on Wednesday following the negative lead overnight from Wall Street ahead of the U.S. Federal Reserve's monetary policy decision later today. Investors are also cautious after a report from Reuters suggested a phase one trade deal between the U.S. and China may not be signed by a summit in Chile next month.

The benchmark S&P/ASX 200 Index is losing 37.90 points or 0.56 percent to 6,707.50, after rising to a low of 6,705.70 earlier. The broader All Ordinaries Index is down 36.40 points or 0.53 percent to 6,812.10. Australian stocks closed on a flat note Tuesday.

Among the major miners, BHP Billiton, Rio Tinto and Fortescue Metals are all declining more than 1 percent each.

Gold miner Newcrest Mining is losing more than 1 percent, while Evolution Mining is rising more than 1 percent after gold prices extended losses overnight.

In the banking space, ANZ Banking, Commonwealth Bank, National Australia Bank and Westpac are lower in a range of 0.2 percent to 0.5 percent.

Oil stocks are mostly weak after crude oil prices declined overnight. Oil Search is declining 0.6 percent and Woodside Petroleum is losing 0.2 percent, while Santos is adding 0.4 percent.

Woolworths Group said its review found it owes 5,700 staff about A$300 million in underpaid wages dating back over nine years and the wages payment will result in a one-time remediation charge between A$200 million and $300 million in its first-half results. The supermarket giant's shares are losing almost 1 percent.

CIMIC Group said it will begin work on Melbourne's M80 Ring Road early next year after winning a A$331 million design and construct contract. However, the engineering giant's shares are declining almost 2 percent.

Afterpay Touch Group said it has expended its presence in the UK's buy now, pay later market by signing a deal with clothing and food retailer Marks and Spencer. The company's shares are lower by almost 2 percent.

On the economic front, the Australian Bureau of Statistics said that consumer prices in Australia were up 1.7 percent on year in the third quarter of 2019, in line with expectations and up from 1.6 percent in the previous three months.

In the currency market, the Australian dollar is almost unchanged against the U.S. dollar on Wednesday. The local currency was quoted at $0.6859, up from $0.6857 on Tuesday.

On Wall Street, stocks closed lower in choppy trading on Tuesday as traders seemed reluctant to make significant moves ahead of the Federal Reserve's monetary policy announcement on Wednesday. Some negative sentiment was generated by a report from Reuters suggesting a phase one trade deal between the U.S. and China may not be signed by a summit in Chile next month. Selling pressure remained subdued, however, as a U.S. administration official noted a failure to sign the deal by the summit just means more time is needed.

The S&P 500 edged down 2.53 points or 0.1 percent to 3,036.89, the Dow dipped 19.26 points or 0.1 percent to 27,071.46 and the Nasdaq slid 49.13 points or 0.6 percent to 8,276.85.

The major European markets turned mixed on Tuesday. While the French CAC 40 Index inched up by 0.2 percent, the German DAX Index closed just below the unchanged and the U.K.'s FTSE 100 Index fell by 0.3 percent.

Crude oil futures edged lower on Tuesday amid expectations official data from Energy Information Administration or EIA will likely show a notable jump in crude inventories last week. WTI crude for December delivery dipped $0.27 or about 0.5 percent to $55.54 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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