The Australian stock market is subdued on Thursday with investors mostly treading cautiously and indulging in lackluster trades following a lack of triggers. While the U.S. markets were closed overnight for Independence Day holiday, markets in Europe ended on a flat note.
Caution ahead of rate decisions by the European Central Bank and the Bank of England is also contributing to the subdued trend in the market. While the ECB is expected to cut interest rates, the Bank of England is likely to announce further stimulus measures.
Healthcare, consumer discretionary and industrial stocks are finding some support, while energy, financial and mining stocks are mostly trading flat.
The benchmark S&P/ASX 200 index, which declined to 4,165.8 after a flat start, is currently trading at 4,172.4, up slightly from the unchanged line. The broader All Ordinaries index is down 0.5 points at 4,213.3, off an early low of 4,207.8.
Among bank stocks, Commonwealth Bank of Australia and Westpac are trading modestly higher. National Australia Bank is down marginally and ANZ Bank is trading flat.
Among top miners, Rio Tinto and Newcrest Mining are down 0.3 percent and 0.7 percent respectively. Fortescue Metals is up marginally, while BHP Billiton is trading flat.
In the energy sector, Oil Search is trading lower by 1.6 percent, Caltex Australia is down 0.4 percent and Santos and Origin Energy are trading flat, while Woodside Petroleum is up 0.5 percent.
Bluescope Steel is trading lower by over 4.5 percent after the company said the Australian Taxation Office has issued amended assessments in relation to a sale and leaseback transaction in the 2007 income year. Bluescope said it will defend the assessments and pursue all necessary avenues of objection.
Beach Energy is down 4.4 percent. Seven West Media, Panaust, Whitehaven Coal, Oil Search, QBE Insurance Group, Stockland, Aurora Oil & Gas, Atlas Iron, Mirvac Group, Treasury Wine Estates, Iluka Resources and Arrium are down 1 to 2.2 percent.
Qantas Airways is up 2.8 percent. Ramsay Healthcare, Myer Holdings, Cochlear and Resmed Inc are trading higher by 1 to 1.8 percent.
In economic news, May figures for imports, exports and trade balance are due for release during the day. The trade balance is expected to show a deficit of A$500 million after showing a shortfall of A$203 million in April. Imports were at A$26.29 billion in the previous month, while exports came in at A$26.08 billion.
by RTT Staff Writer
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