Australian Market Drifts Lower

(RTTNews) - The Australian stock market edged lower after a positive start on Friday following the weak cues overnight from Wall Street as tech stocks slid for a second day. Worries about the economic recovery weighed on the market.

The benchmark S&P/ASX 200 Index is down 2.50 points or 0.04 percent to 5,880.70, after rising to a high of 5,921.40 earlier. The broader All Ordinaries Index is down 0.50 points or 0.01 percent to 6,068.70. Australian stocks closed notably lower on Thursday.

The big four banks - ANZ Banking, Westpac, Commonwealth Bank and National Australia Bank - are lower in a range of 0.5 percent to 0.8 percent.

In the tech sector, Afterpay is advancing almost 2 percent, Appen is adding more than 1 percent and WiseTech Global is higher by almost 1 percent, while their U.S. peers fell overnight.

The major miners are also higher. Rio Tinto is rising almost 2 percent, BHP Group is advancing more than 1 percent and Fortescue Metals is adding 0.6 percent.

Gold miners rose despite a fall in gold prices overnight. Evolution Mining is higher by more than 1 percent and Newcrest Mining is up 0.3 percent.

In the oil sector, Woodside Petroleum is rising 0.6 percent and Oil Search is adding 0.4 percent, while Santos is declining almost 1 percent after crude oil prices rose overnight.

Fonterra reported a turnaround to profit for the full year, reduced its debt by more than NZ$1 billion and also paid a final dividend. The New Zealand-based dairy giant's shares are advancing more than 1 percent.

On Wall Street, stocks extended the sell-off on Thursday from the previous session after the Federal Reserve revealed plans to leave interest rates at near-zero levels for years to come. The Fed's dovish monetary policy announcement was expected to help calm the markets, although investors seem to be viewing the central bank's projections as a sign the economic recovery will not be as swift as many were hoping. Negative sentiment was also generated in reaction to a report from the Labor Department showing first-time claims for U.S. unemployment benefits fell less than expected in the week ended September 12.

The Dow fell 130.40 points or 0.5 percent to 27,901.98, the Nasdaq tumbled 140.19 points or 1.3 percent to 10,910.28 and the S&P 500 slumped 28.48 points or 0.8 percent to 3,357.01.

The major European markets also moved to the downside on Thursday. While the French CAC 40 Index slid by 0.7 percent, the U.K.'s FTSE 100 Index and the German DAX Index dipped by 0.5 percent and 0.4 percent, respectively.

Crude oil prices recovered from early weakness to end on a firm note on Thursday. WTI crude for October added $0.81 or about 2 percent to $40.97 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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