Australian Market Slightly Lower

(RTTNews) - Australian stock market is slightly lower in choppy trading on Friday, with the benchmark S&P/ASX 200 staying above the 7,000 mark near 14-month highs, as gold miners, energy and banking stocks are weighing down the market. The cues overnight from Wall Street was also negative on reports President Joe Biden plans to almost double the capital gains tax.

The benchmark S&P/ASX 200 Index is losing 6.30 points or 0.09 percent to 7,049.10, after hitting a low of 7,036.80 earlier. The broader All Ordinaries Index is down 3.90 points or 0.05 percent to 7,308.10. Australian markets ended higher on Thursday.

The major miners are mixed. Fortescue Metals is edging up 0.6 percent, while BHP Group and Rio Tinto are losing almost 1 percent each.

Among oil stocks, Woodside Petroleum is edging up 0.1 percent, while Oil Search is losing almost 0.6 percent, Santos is down 0.3 percent and Beach energy is declining more than 1 percent.

Oil Search reported a 16 percent increase in operating revenue for the first quarter to US$301.5 million or A$391 million. However, oil and gas producer slashed its planned investment spend amid the ongoing pandemic, but maintained production guidance for 2021.

Among tech stocks, Afterpay and Xero are edging down 0.4 percent each, while Appen is gaining more than 2 percent. WiseTech Global is flat.

Among the big four banks, Westpac and ANZ Banking are flat, while National Australia Bank is edging up 0.2 percent. Commonwealth Bank is edging down 0.2 percent. Gold miners are lower after gold declined. Evolution Mining is edging down 0.5 percent, while Northern Star Resources and Gold Road Resources are losing almost 1 percent each. Newcrest Mining is declining more than 1 percent. Meanwhile, Resolute Mining is up almost 1 percent.

Shares in AMP are gaining more than 4 percent after it officially ended talks with US investment giant Ares and will now focus on splitting its AMP Capital business to manage its private markets assets separately from its public markets assets.

Shares in are plunging almost 10 percent after the e-commerce firm reported a 24 percent decline in adjusted earnings on higher-than-expected storage expenses amid the sagging customer demand during the March quarter.

In economic news, the manufacturing sector in Australia is continuing to expand in April, and at a faster pace, a flash estimate from Markit Economics revealed on Friday, with a survey record manufacturing PMI score of 59.6. That's up from 56.8 in March and it moves further above the boom-or-bust line of 50 that separates expansion from contraction. Also, the services index improved to 58.6 in April from 55.5 in March and the composite index climbed to 58.8 in April from 55.5 in March.

In the currency market, the Aussie dollar is trading at $0.772 on Friday.

On Wall Street, stocks came under pressure in afternoon trading on Thursday after turning in a lackluster performance for much of the morning. The major averages all pulled back sharply, offsetting the strong gains posted in the previous session.

The major averages climbed off their worst levels but still closed firmly in negative territory. The Dow tumbled 321.41 points or 0.9 percent to 33,815.90, the Nasdaq slumped 131.81 points or 0.9 percent to 13,818.41 and the S&P 500 slid 38.44 points or 0.9 percent to 4,134.98.

Meanwhile, the major European markets moved to the upside on the day. While the U.K.'s FTSE 100 Index climbed by 0.6 percent, the German DAX Index and the French CAC 40 Index advanced by 0.8 percent and 0.9 percent, respectively.

Crude oil futures rebounded from early losses to settle slightly higher on Thursday, gaining for the first time in three sessions as worries about the energy demand outlook weighed on oil prices early in the day. West Texas Intermediate Crude oil futures for June ended up by $0.08 or 0.1 percent at $61.43 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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