The Australian stock market is trading notably lower on Friday with investors pressing sales amid lingering worries about the financial crisis in the eurozone. The overnight weak close on Wall Street and a decline in Australian manufacturing activity are also contributing to the weakness.
Mining, energy, industrial, consumer discretionary and information technology stocks are seeing a sell-off. Financial, consumer staples and healthcare stocks are trading mixed.
The benchmark S&P/ASX 200 index is down 41 points or 1 percent at 4,035.3. The broader All Ordinaries index is trading at 4,093.1, down 40.6 points or 1 percent from its previous close.
Among top miners, BHP Billiton is down 1.7 percent, Rio Tinto is trading lower by 2.4 percent and Newcrest Mining is down by over 3 percent, while Fortescue Metals, faring relatively better, is down with a modest loss of 0.4 percent.
In the energy sector, Santos and Origin Energy are trading lower by 2.5 percent and 2.4 percent, respectively. Caltex Australia and Oil Search are both down by about 1 percent, while Woodside Petroleum is up marginally.
Aquarius Platinum Limited shares are down more than 8 percent following an announcement that the stock will be removed from the S&P 100 index after the close of trading on June 15, 2012.
Bluescope Steel is trading lower by over 5.5 percent. Alumina is down by about 4 percent on reports the stock will move out of the S&P 50 index after 15 June 2012. Perseus Mining, Campbell Brothers, Sims Metal Management, Toll Holdings and Onesteel are down 3.3 to 4.5 percent.
Seven West Media, Newcrest Mining, Beach Energy, Paladin Energy, Boart Longyear, CSR, Monadelphous Group, Tatts Group, Panaust and Oz Minerals are down 2 to 3 percent.
On the economic front, Australian manufacturing activity fell in May, as poor demand and the strong Australian dollar continued to hurt the sector. The Australian Industry Group/PriceWaterhouseCoopers Australian Performance of Manufacturing Index fell 1.5 points to 42.4 in May.
Among other markets in the Asia-Pacific region, Shanghai, Hong Kong, Japan, New Zealand, Singapore, South Korea and Taiwan are all trading notably lower, while Malaysia is down with a modest loss. Markets across the region ended mostly lower on Thursday.
On Wall Street, stocks ended lower on Thursday despite staging a notable recovery after an early setback. The sell-off in early trading was due to a negative reaction by trades to a slew of U.S. economic data.
The Dow edged down 26.4 points or 0.2 percent to 12,393.4, the Nasdaq declined 10 points or 0.4 percent to 2,827.3 and the S&P 500 slid 3 points or 0.2 percent to 1,310.3.
Major European markets ended on a mixed note on Thursday. While the German DAX index dipped 0.3 percent, the U.K.'s FTSE 100 index and the French CAC 40 index edged up by 0.2 percent and 0.1 percent, respectively.
U.S. crude oil futures ended sharply lower on Thursday, on continued worries over global demand growth with some soft economic data led by disappointing GDP data from the U.S. and India. Oil prices were also impacted by a more-than-anticipated increase in U.S. crude stockpiles for the previous week and continued worries over eurozone debt problems.
Crude for July delivery dropped $1.29 or 1.5 percent to close at $86.53 a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange.
by RTT Staff Writer
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