Markets

Australian Market Slightly Lower

(RTTNews) - The Australian stock market is slightly lower on Wednesday, retreating from the record close in the previous session, with the benchmark S&P/ASX 200 staying above the 7,400 level, following the broadly negative cues overnight from Wall Street. Traders are awaiting the release of Australia's second quarter inflation data later in the day, while being concerned about the worsening domestic coronavirus situation in New South Wales.

Economists predict hundreds of thousands of job losses over the next few months due to the Sydney lock down. Australia is set to extend the COVID-19 lockdown by another four weeks in Sydney as new cases remain high despite a month under strict stay-home orders, while Victoria and South Australia eased curbs from Wednesday.

The benchmark S&P/ASX 200 Index is losing 22.80 points or 0.31 percent to 7,408.80, after hitting a low of 7,407.40 earlier. The broader All Ordinaries Index is down 24.00 points or 0.31 percent to 7,680.00. Australian stocks ended modestly higher on Tuesday.

Among major miners, BHP Group, Rio Tinto, OZ Minerals and Fortescue Metals are all losing almost 1 percent each, while Mineral Resources is declining almost 2 percent.

BHP has trumped a bid by mining magnate Andrew Forrest to buy Canada's Noront Resources, while Rio Tinto announced plans to build a lithium mine in Serbia. Both miners are accelerating their retreat from fossil fuels.

Oil stocks are mostly lower after crude oil prices tumbled overnight. Oil Search is edging up 0.4 percent, while Beach energy and Woodside Petroleum are losing more than 1 percent each. Origin Energy is flat. Santos is down almost 1 percent.

In the tech space, WiseTech Global is gaining more than 3 percent and Xero is adding almost 2 percent, while Appen and Afterpay are losing almost 3 percent each.

Among the big four banks, Westpac, National Australia Bank and ANZ Banking are edging down 0.3 percent each, while Commonwealth Bank is losing almost 1 percent.

Among gold miners, Evolution Mining is gaining almost 2 percent and Gold Road Resources is adding almost 1 percent, while Resolute Mining is losing more than 1 percent and Northern Star Resources is edging down 0.5 percent. Newcrest Mining is edging up 0.1 percent.

In other news, shares in Spark Infrastructure are gaining almost 6 percent after the energy firm received a sweetened $2.95 per share takeover offer from a North American consortium, including Ontario Teachers' Pension Plan Board and KKR.

In the currency market, the Aussie dollar is trading at $0.737 on Wednesday.

On Wall Street, stocks moved to the downside during trading on Tuesday, giving back ground after closing higher for five consecutive sessions. With the drop on the day, the major averages pulled back off the record closing highs set on Monday.

The major averages all closed in negative territory, although the tech-heavy Nasdaq underperformed its counter parts by a wide margin. While the Nasdaq tumbled 180.14 points or 1.2 percent to 14,660.58, the S&P 500 fell 20.84 points or 0.5 percent to 4,401.46 and the Dow dipped 85.79 points or 0.2 percent to 35,058.52.

The major European markets all also moved to the downside on the day. While the U.K.'s FTSE 100 Index fell by 0.4 percent, the German DAX Index and the French CAC 40 Index slid by 0.6 percent and 0.7 percent, respectively.

Crude oil priced drifted lower on Tuesday after moving around the flat line for much of the day's session, with traders weighing demand prospects and looking ahead to weekly inventory data. West Texas Intermediate Crude futures for September dipped $0.26 or 0.4 percent at $71.65 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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