Australian Market Extends Losses

(RTTNews) - The Australian stock market is extending losses on Friday from the previous session following the negative lead overnight from Wall Street amid renewed uncertainty about the possibility of a long-term U.S.-China trade deal.

The benchmark S&P/ASX 200 Index is declining 15.30 points or 0.23 percent to 6,648.10, after touching a low of 6,634.70 earlier. The broader All Ordinaries Index is down 14.20 points or 0.21 percent to 6,758.70. Australian stocks closed lower for a second straight session on Thursday.

In the banking space, ANZ Banking, Commonwealth Bank, National Australia Bank and Westpac are lower in a range of 0.9 percent to 1.6 percent.

Macquarie Group reported a 11 percent increase in first-half profit and increased its interim dividend, but affirmed that its full-year profit will be "slightly down" from the prior year.

Oil stocks are also weak after crude oil prices fell overnight. Oil Search is lower by almost 1 percent, Santos is declining 0.5 percent and Woodside Petroleum is down 0.2 percent.

Among the major miners, BHP Billiton and Rio Tinto are declining more than 1 percent each, while Fortescue Metals is down 0.5 percent.

Gold miner Evolution Mining is gaining more than 3 percent and Newcrest Mining is higher by almost 3 percent after gold prices rose overnight.

Orica reported a turnaround to profit in the full year despite A$134 million in writedowns and also increased its final dividend. The explosives maker's shares are down 0.2 percent.

Qantas Airways has pulled three of its Boeing 737 aircraft from service to repair hairline cracks found in the pickle fork structure between the wings and the fuselage. The airline's shares are advancing more than 1 percent.

Virgin Australia's shares are rising more than 3 percent after the airline said it has completed the bookbuild for its domestic notes offering and raised the issue size following strong support from investors.

On the economic front, the latest survey from the Australian Industry Group revealed that the manufacturing sector in Australia continued to expand in October, albeit at a slower rate, with a seasonally adjusted Performance of Manufacturing Index score of 51.6. That's down from 54.7 in September, although it remains above the boom-or-bust line of 50 that separates expansion from contraction.

The Australian Bureau of Statistics said that final demand producer prices in Australia were up 0.4 percent on quarter in the third quarter of 2019, matching expectations and unchanged from the three months prior.

In the currency market, the Australian dollar is higher against the U.S. dollar on Friday. The local currency was quoted at $0.6891, up from $0.6922 on Thursday.

On Wall Street, stocks closed lower on Thursday amid renewed uncertainty about the potential for a long-term U.S.-China trade deal. A new report from Bloomberg said Chinese officials are casting doubts about reaching a comprehensive long-term trade agreement. In an apparent effort to calm the markets, President Donald Trump tweeted shortly before the start of trading that the U.S. and China are working on a new site to sign phase one of the trade deal.

The Dow slid 140.46 points or 0.5 percent to 27,046.23, the Nasdaq edged down 11.62 points or 0.1 percent to 8,292.36 and the S&P 500 fell 9.21 points or 0.3 percent to 3,037.56.

The major European markets all moved to the downside on Thursday. The U.K.'s FTSE 100 Index slumped by 1.1 percent, the French CAC 40 Index slid by 0.6 percent and the German DAX Index dipped by 0.3 percent.

Crude oil futures drifted down sharply on Thursday, extending losses to a fourth successive session, amid concerns over outlook for energy demand due to slowing economies and uncertainty about U.S.-China trade deal. WTI crude for December delivery slumped $0.88 or about 1.6 percent to $54.18 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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