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Australian Market Drifts Lower On Wall Street Cues

4/10/2012 9:39 PM ET

The Australian market is trading notably lower on Wednesday with investors indulging in some fairly heavy selling in stocks from across various sectors following a weak lead from Wall Street.

Financial, mining and energy stocks are mostly trading notably lower. Stocks from industrial and consumer discretionary sectors too are trading weak.

The benchmark S&P/ASX 200 index, which declined to 4,256.5, is currently trading at 4,262.8, down 29.5 points or 0.7 percent from its previous close. The broader All Ordinaries index is down 31.2 points or 0.7 percent at 4,342.5, a few points off the day's low of 4,336.8.

Among top miners, BHP Billiton is down 1.5 percent and Rio Tinto is trading lower by 1.7 percent and Fortescue Metals is losing 1.2 percent, while Newcrest Mining is bucking the trend and trading marginally higher.

In the energy sector, Woodside Petroleum, Caltex Australia and Santos are down 1.2 to 1.5 percent, as well as Oil Search and Origin Energy are trading lower by 0.6 percent and 0.8 percent, respectively.

Among bank stocks, ANZ Bank, Commonwealth Bank of Australia, National Australia Bank and Westpac are down 0.5 to 0.8 percent. Bendigo & Adelaide Bank and Bank of Queensland are losing 0.5 percent and 1 percent, respectively.

Aquarius Platinum, QBE Insurance Group, Dexus Property Group, Beach Energy, Paladin Energy and Macquarie Group are all down 2 to 3.5 percent.

Lynas Corp. is down nearly 2 percent. Campbell Brothers, JB Hi-Fi, Qantas Airways, Seven West Media, UGL, Insurance Australia Group and Atlas Iron are also trading notably lower.

On the economic front, consumer sentiment fell to its lowest level in eight months, according to a survey. The Westpac/Melbourne Institute Consumer Sentiment Index fell by 1.6 percent to 94.5 index points in April, from 96.1 points in March.

Among other markets in the Asia-Pacific region, Japan, Hong Kong, Singapore, Taiwan, and New Zealand are trading notably lower, while Shanghai is bucking the trend to be up in positive territory. Markets across the region ended on a mixed note on Tuesday.

On Wall Street, stocks ended sharply lower on Tuesday amid renewed concerns about the global economic outlook. The major averages ended near their worst levels of the day. The Dow tumbled 213.7 points or 1.7 percent to 12,715.9, the Nasdaq plunged 55.9 points or 1.8 percent to 2,991.2 and the S&P 500 plummeted 23.6 points or 1.7 percent to 1,358.6.

Major European markets too closed with sharp losses on Tuesday. The French CAC 40 index lost 3.1 percent, while the German DAX index and the U.K.'s FTSE 100 index went down by 2.5 percent and 2.2 percent, respectively.

U.S. crude oil futures closed lower on Tuesday amid demand concerns after trade data from China showed imports had dropped in the second largest economy in the world. A stronger dollar too contributed to the decline.

Light Sweet Crude Oil futures for May delivery, dropped $1.44 or 1.4 percent to close at $101.02 a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange.

by RTT Staff Writer

For comments and feedback: editorial@rttnews.com

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