The Australian stock market is trading lower on Tuesday with investors mostly treading a cautious path following a weak lead from the U.S. and European markets where stocks plunged sharply overnight amid mounting worries about the financial situation in Europe.
Financial and mining stocks are trading weak. Information technology and healthcare stocks are finding some support, while consumer discretionary, energy and industrial stocks are trading mixed.
The benchmark S&P/ASX 200 index, which declined to 4,008, is currently trading at 4,015.6, down 12.2 points or 0.3 percent from its previous close. The broader All Ordinaries index is down 12.4 points or 0.3 percent at 4,059.6.
Among bank stocks, ANZ Bank, National Australia Bank and Westpac are trading lower by 0.3 to 0.5 percent, while Commonwealth Bank of Australia is up marginally. Bendigo & Adelaide Bank is losing about 0.6 percent and Bank of Queensland is trading slightly higher.
Among top miners, BHP Billiton, Rio Tinto and Fortescue Metals are down 0.8 to 1 percent, while Newcrest Mining is trading in positive territory with a gain of around 1 percent.
In the energy sector, Woodside Petroleum, Santos and Caltex Australia are trading notably lower, while Oil Search and Caltex Australia are trading higher by 1.3 percent and 1.8 percent, respectively.
Fairfax Media shares are down more than 5.5 percent on reports the company's largest shareholder Gina Rinehart raised the prospect of selling out should she be unable to secure seats on the board "without unsuitable conditions".
Shares of Ten Network Holdings are trading lower by about 1 percent. According to reports, Gina Rinehart has increased her stake in the Ten Network to more than 10 percent. Rinehart bought almost 39.2 million Ten shares on June 19 for A$19.99 million, according to a note sent to the Australian Securities Exchange by the company.
Seven West Media, Bluescope Steel and Paladin Energy are down 3 to 3.5 percent. Oz Minerals, Alumina, Aurora Oil & Gas, QBE Insurance Group, Resmed Inc and Qantas Airways are trading lower by 1.3 to 2.3 percent.
Myer Holdings Limited shares are up nearly 3 percent after the company announced plans to expand into the Northern Territory with a new store to be built in Darwin.
Whitehaven Coal is trading higher by over 5 percent. Incitec Pivot, Orica, Ramsay Healthcare, CSL, Perseus Mining, Insurance Australia Group and WorleyParsons are also trading notably higher.
On Wall Street, stocks declined sharply on Monday amid lingering concerns about the ongoing European debt crisis and its likely impact on the global economy.
After moving sharply lower in early trading, the major averages remained stuck firmly in the red throughout the session. The Dow ended down 138.1 points or 1.1 percent at 12,502.7, the Nasdaq declined 56.3 points or 2 percent to 2,836.2 and the S&P 500 slid 21.3 points or 1.6 percent to 1,313.7.
Major European markets also ended notably lower on Monday. While the U.K.'s FTSE 100 index tumbled 1.1 percent, the German DAX index and the French CAC 40 index plummeted by 2.1 percent and 2.2 percent, respectively.
U.S. crude oil futures settled lower on Monday, on demand concerns and a strong dollar that continued to gain against most major currencies. Crude for August delivery dropped $0.55 or 0.7 percent to close at $79.21 a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange.
by RTT Staff Writer
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