Australian Market Extends Losses

(RTTNews) - The Australian stock market is extending losses on Friday from the previous session, despite the positive cues overnight from Wall Street after House Speaker Nancy Pelosi indicated Democrats and the White House continued to make progress toward an agreement on a new stimulus bill. Gains by banks and oil stocks were offset by weakness in mining stocks.

The benchmark S&P/ASX 200 Index is declining 16.90 points or 0.27 percent to 6,156.90, after touching a low of 6,149.00 earlier. The broader All Ordinaries Index is down 18.50 points or 0.29 percent to 6,365.20. Australian stocks closed modestly lower on Thursday.

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

Gold miners are also weak after gold prices fell overnight. Newcrest Mining is losing more than 2 percent and Evolution Mining is lower by more than 1 percent.

Meanwhile, oil stocks are higher after crude oil prices rose overnight. Oil Search and Santos are rising almost 2 percent each, while Woodside Petroleum is adding almost 1 percent.

In the banking space, ANZ Banking, Westpac, National Australia Bank and Commonwealth Bank are higher in a range of 0.1 percent to 0.7 percent.

Qantas Airways said its first-quarter earnings were negatively impacted by A$100 million due to the unexpected state-border closures in July. At its annual general meeting today, the airline added it aims to save A$600 million this year to stay viable. Shares of Qantas are rising more than 2 percent.

In economic news, the latest survey from IHS Markit revealed that the manufacturing sector in Australia continued to expand in October, albeit at a slower pace, with a manufacturing PMI score of 54.2. That's down from 55.4 in September, although it remains above the boom-or-bust line of 50 that separates expansion from contraction.

On Wall Street, stocks closed higher on Thursday as House Speaker Nancy Pelosi indicated Democrats and the White House continue to make progress toward an agreement on a new stimulus bill. Pelosi told reporters the two sides are "just about there" on certain provisions, but noted they have not agreed on issues such as state and local aid. Upbeat U.S. economic data added to the positive sentiment, with a report from the Labor Department showing initial jobless claims came in well below economist estimates in the week ended October 17.

The Nasdaq edged up 21.31 points or 0.2 percent to 11,506.01, while the Dow climbed 152.84 points or 0.5 percent to 28,363.66 and the S&P 500 rose 17.93 points or 0.5 percent to 3,453.49.

The major European markets turned in a mixed performance on Thursday. While the U.K.'s FTSE 100 Index crept up by 0.2 percent, the French CAC 40 Index and the German DAX Index both edged down by 0.1 percent.

Crude oil prices moved higher on Thursday, rebounding from losses in the previous session despite data showing a surge in gasoline stockpiles and uncertainty around a U.S. stimulus deal. WTI crude for December ended up $0.63 or about 1.4 percent at $40.64 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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