After moving higher in early trades amid selective buying, the Australian stock market retreated on Friday with investors turning cautious and trimming down positions amid concerns about eurozone economy.
Energy, mining, consumer discretionary, information technology and property trusts stocks are finding some support, while financial, industrial and healthcare stocks are trading mixed.
The benchmark S&P/ASX 200 index, which rose to 4,071.3, is currently trading at 4,051.6, down 4.2 points from its previous close. The broader All Ordinaries index is down 3.6 points at 4,102.6, nearly 20 points off an early high of 4,121.
Among bank stocks, Commonwealth Bank of Australia, National Australia Bank and Westpac are trading modestly higher, while ANZ Bank is down marginally. Bendigo & Adelaide Bank and Bank of Queensland are up slightly from the unchanged line.
Among top miners, BHP Billiton and Newcrest Mining are up 0.7 percent and 1 percent respectively. Fortescue Metals is down nearly a percent, while Rio Tinto is trading flat.
In the energy sector, Woodside Petroleum, Santos, Origin Energy and Caltex Australia are up 0.5 to 1 percent, while Oil Search is down marginally.
Sims Metal Management Ltd shares are down more than 5 percent following a weak profit forecast from the company for the financial year ending June 30, 2012.
David Jones, Perseus Mining, Harvey Norman Holdings, News Corporation, Iluka Resources, Graincorp, Atlas Iron, Resmed, Alumina, Oz Minerals, Incitec Pivot, Onesteel, Bluescope Steel and Boral are trading higher by 1.5 to 4 percent.
Aquarius Platinum is down more than 5.5 percent. Leighton Holdings, Downer EDI, Asciano and Monadelphous Group are also trading notably lower.
In the currency market, the Australian dollar opened lower and was quoting at US$0.9763 in early trades, down slightly from Thursday's close of US$0.9773.
On Wall Street, stocks saw a choppy ride on Thursday, as traders seemed reluctant to make any significant moves amid some uninspiring economic data and on lingering concerns about the financial situation in Europe.
The major averages bounced back and forth across the unchanged line, eventually ending the session mixed. While the Nasdaq ended down 10.7 points or 0.4 percent at 2,839.4, the Dow rose 33.6 points or 0.3 percent to 12,529.8 and the S&P 500 edged up 1.8 points or 0.1 percent to 1,320.7.
Major European markets moved higher on Thursday. While the German DAX index rose 0.5 percent, the French CAC 40 index advanced by 1.2 percent, and the U.K.'s FTSE 100 Index jumped 1.6 percent.
U.S. crude oil futures rebounded to settle higher on Thursday, after reaching a seven-month low in the previous session. Crude for July delivery gained $0.76 or 0.9 percent to close at $90.66 a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange.
by RTT Staff Writer
For comments and feedback: email@example.com