Australian Market Edges Lower

(RTTNews) - The Australian stock market is edging lower on Monday after opening higher following the mixed cues from Wall Street Friday. Worries about the resurgence in coronavirus cases in New South Wales and Victoria weighed on sentiment. Investors also turned cautious ahead of the federal government's budget update later this week.

The benchmark S&P/ASX 200 Index is losing 6.70 points or 0.11 percent to 6026.90, after rising to a high of 6,038.80 in early trades. The broader All Ordinaries Index is lower by 4.90 points or 0.08 percent to 6,140.00. Australian stocks fluctuated before closing modestly higher on Friday.

In the oil sector, Santos is losing more than 2 percent, while Oil Search and Woodside Petroleum are lower by more than 1 percent each after crude oil declined Friday.

Among the big four banks, National Australia Bank, ANZ Banking, Westpac and Commonwealth Bank are lower in a range of 1.3 percent to 1.5 percent.

Among the major miners, BHP Group is advancing more than 1 percent, Rio Tinto is adding almost 1 percent and Fortescue Metals is up 0.6 percent.

South32 said it achieved its full-year production guidance across the majority of its portfolio, but will record a full-year non-cash impairment charge of $109 million against it manganese alloy smelters at Metalloys in South Africa and TEMCO in Australia. Shares of South32 are declining more than 1 percent.

Gold miners are higher after gold prices advanced on Friday. Evolution Mining is rising more than 2 percent and Newcrest Mining is higher by more than 1 percent.

Eclipx Group has sold its under-performing Right2Drive business for up to A$26.5 million, after writing down its value last year. The vehicle fleet leasing company's shares are rising more than 6 percent.

In the currency market, the Australian dollar is higher against the U.S. dollar on Monday. The local unit was quoted at $0.6999, compared to $0.6986 on Friday.

On Wall Street, stocks closed mixed on Friday in a lackluster session as traders generally remained optimistic about the economic outlook, but could not ignore the troubling headlines on the coronavirus front. The U.S. reported a record 77,255 new coronavirus cases on Thursday, according to data compiled by Johns Hopkins University. Reflecting the widespread resurgence of the coronavirus, the University of Michigan released a report showing an unexpected deterioration in U.S. consumer sentiment in the month of July.

While the Dow dipped 62.76 points or 0.2 percent to 26,671.95, the Nasdaq climbed 29.36 points or 0.3 percent to 10,503.19 and the S&P 500 rose 9.16 points or 0.3 percent to 3,224.73.

The major European markets also turned in a mixed performance on Friday. While the French CAC 40 Index fell by 0.3 percent, the German DAX Index climbed by 0.4 percent and the U.K.'s FTSE 100 Index advanced by 0.6 percent.

Crude oil prices edged lower on Friday, weighed down by concerns about the outlook for near-term energy demand due to the relentless surge in new coronavirus cases in many states in America and in several other countries across the globe. WTI crude for August declined $0.16 or about 0.4 percent to $40.59 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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