Markets

Australian Market Extends Losses

(RTTNews) - The Australian stock market is extending losses on Wednesday from the previous session, with stocks lower across the board following the negative cues overnight from Wall Street amid renewed uncertainty about a U.S.-China trade deal.

A report from the Wall Street Journal said trade talks are in danger of hitting an impasse, while a report from Reuters said completion of a phase one U.S.-China trade deal could slide into next year.

The benchmark S&P/ASX 200 Index is losing 56.90 points or 0.85 percent to 6,665.50, after touching a low of 6,658.200 earlier. The broader All Ordinaries Index is lower by 56.70 points or 0.83 percent to 6,771.60. Australian stocks closed notably lower on Wednesday.

In the banking space, Westpac's shares are losing more than 2 percent after Australia's Prime Minister Scott Morrison urged the company's board to consider chief executive Brian Hartzer's position following AUSTRAC's allegations of the lender breaching anti-money laundering and counter-terrorism financing laws.

National Australia Bank is lower by 0.6 percent and ANZ Banking is down 0.3 percent, while Commonwealth Bank is edging up 0.1 percent.

National Australia Bank said it will pay nearly A$50 million to settle a class action suit brought on behalf of thousands of customers who were sold insurance they would not have been eligible to claim against.

The major miners are also lower. Fortescue Metals is lower by almost 2 percent, while Rio Tinto and BHP are declining almost 1 percent each.

Oil stocks are weak even as crude oil prices rebounded overnight. Santos and Oil Search are losing almost 1 percent each, while Woodside Petroleum is down 0.2 percent.

Among gold miners, Evolution Mining is lower by more than 1 percent and Newcrest Mining is declining 0.5 percent after gold prices edged slightly lower overnight.

Clothing retailer Noni B has agreed to acquire a 50.1 percent stake in New Zealand-based clothing and homewares retailer EziBuy for a "nominal consideration", saying that the move will increase its online sales to about A$200 million. However, Noni B's shares are declining more than 1 percent.

City Chic Collective announced plans to open 15 new Australian outlets within three years. However, the clothing retailer's shares are losing more than 2 percent.

In the currency market, the Australian dollar is higher against the U.S. dollar on Thursday. The local currency was quoted at $0.6801, compared to $0.6798 on Wednesday.

On Wall Street, stocks closed lower on Wednesday amid renewed uncertainty about a U.S.-China trade deal after a report from the Wall Street Journal said trade talks are in danger of hitting an impasse. The Journal said both sides remain divided over core issues, including China's demand for removing tariffs and the U.S.'s insistence on China buying farm products. The WSJ report comes after President Donald Trump threatening higher tariffs on Chinese goods if an agreement is not reached.

The Nasdaq slid 43.93 points or 0.5 percent to 8,526.73, while the Dow fell 112.93 points or 0.4 percent to 27,821.09 and the S&P 500 dropped 11.72 points or 0.4 percent to 3,108.46.

The major European markets also moved to the downside on Wednesday. The U.K.'s FTSE 100 Index slumped by 0.8 percent, the German DAX Index fell by 0.5 percent and the French CAC 40 Index dipped by 0.3 percent.

Crude oil futures rebounded Wednesday and recovered Tuesday's heavy losses after official data showed crude stockpiles in the U.S. rose less than expected last week. WTI crude for December ended up $1.90 or 3.4 percent at $57.11 a barrel on expiration day.

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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