Australian Market Slightly Lower

(RTTNews) - Extending the slight losses in the previous session, the Australian stock market is slightly lower in choppy reading on Tuesday, following the broadly negative cues from Wall Street overnight. The benchmark S&P/ASX 200 retreated from all-time highs to near the 7,700 level, with losses in technology stocks nearly offset by gains in mining stocks.

The benchmark S&P/ASX 200 Index is losing 7.60 points or 0.10 percent to 7,728.20, after hitting a low of 7,711.70 earlier. The broader All Ordinaries Index is down 7.80 points or 0.10 percent to 7,988.70. Australian stocks closed slightly lower on Monday.

Among the major miners, Fortescue Metals and Rio Tinto are gaining more than 2 percent each, while BHP Group is adding more than 1 percent. Mineral Resources is declining almost 2 percent.

Oil stocks are mixed. Origin Energy is gaining almost 1 percent, while Beach energy is losing almost 1 percent and Woodside Energy is edging down 0.4 percent. Santos is flat.

Among tech stocks, WiseTech Global is losing almost 1 percent, Zip is down more than 2 percent, Afterpay owner Block is declining almost 3 percent and Xero is slipping more than 1 percent, while Appen is gaining almost 3 percent.

Gold miners are mostly lower. Evolution Mining is surging more than 5 percent, Newmont is advancing almost 5 percent, Northern Star resources is gaining almost 4 percent, Resolute Mining is adding more than 4 percent and Gold Road Resources is up almost 3 percent.

Among the big four banks, Commonwealth Bank and ANZ Banking are edging down 0.1 percent each, while Westpac is edging up 0.1 percent. National Australia Bank is flat.

In other news, shares in Healius are jumping almost 15 percent after the beleaguered pathology group announced that Paul Anderson will step in as chief executive, following Maxine Jaquet's resignation.

In economic news, the services sector in Australia moved to expansion in February, the latest survey from Judo Bank said on Tuesday with a services PMI score of 53.1. That's up from 49.1 and it moved above the boom-or-bust line of 50 that separates expansion from contraction.

Meanwhile, Australia posted a seasonally adjusted current account surplus of A$11.8 billion in the fourth quarter of 2023, the Australian Bureau of Statistics said on Tuesday. That beat forecasts for a surplus of A$4.8 billion following the upwardly revised A$1.3 billion surplus in the previous three months (originally a A$0.2 billion shortfall).

The capital and financial account deficit was A$9.730 billion, a turnaround of A$13.214 billion on the third quarter 2023 surplus. The net international investment liability position was A$836.635 billion at 31 December 2023.

In the currency market, the Aussie dollar is trading at $0.651 on Tuesday.

On Wall Street, stocks briefly managed to turn positive in the final hour, but failed to find support and ended marginally down on Monday, after a weak start and a subsequent long spell in negative territory.

The major averages all ended in negative territory. The Dow ended down 97.55 points or 0.25 percent at 38,989.83. The S&P 500 settled with a loss of 6.13 points or 0.12 percent at 5,130.95, while the Nasdaq ended lower by 67.43 points or 0.41 percent at 16,207.51.

The major European markets mostly ended lower. While the U.K.'s FTSE 100 Index ended down by 0.55 percent and the German DAX Index drifted down 0.11 percent, France's CAC 40 gained 0.28 percent.

Crude oil prices ended lower on Monday on concerns about the outlook for energy demand after OPEC extended its output cuts to the end of the second quarter. West Texas Intermediate Crude oil futures for April ended lower by $1.23 or 1.5 percent at 78.74 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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