The Australian stock market opened higher on Tuesday with investors shurugging off a weak lead from the U.S. and European markets and indulging in some bargain hunting after Monday's sharp setback. However, with the mood turning cautious subsequently, the market pared its gains and is currently trading marginally down in negative territory.
Consumer staples and information technology stocks are finding some support, while industrial stocks are trading weak. Mining, energy, financial and healthcare stocks are trading mixed.
The benchmark S&P/ASX 200 index, which advanced to around 4,141 in early trades, is currently trading at 4,119, down 9.9 points or 0.2 percent from its previous close. The broader All Ordinaries index is down 9.6 points or 0.2 percent at 4,149, around 20 points off an early high of 4,169.4.
Fortescue Metals is trading lower by over 5 percent. Atlas Iron is down by about 4.5 percent. Boart Longyear, Paladin Energy, Iluka Resources, Campbell Brothers, Arrium, Monadelphous Group, Spark Infrastructure and Oz Minerals are down 2 to 4 percent.
Downer EDI, Lend Lease Group, Caltex Australia, Whitehaven Coal, Bluescope Steel, JB Hi-Fi, Commonwealth Property Office Fund, Perseus Mining and Cochlear are also trading notably lower.
Billabong has reportedly received a second takeover offer from US private equity firm TPG. The company's stock is currently under a trading halt.
On Wall Street, stocks ended notably lower on Monday after plunging sharply early on in the session amid mounting concerns about the financial situation in Europe.
The major averages moved roughly sideways going into the close of trading, stuck firmly in negative territory. The Dow ended down 101.1 points or 0.8 percent at 12,721.5, the Nasdaq slid 35.1 points or 1.2 percent to 2,890.2 and the S&P 500 dropped 12.1 points or 0.9 percent to 1,350.5.
Major European markets also moved sharply lower on Monday. The U.K.'s FTSE 100 index tumbled by 2.1 percent, while the French CAC 40 index and the German DAX index plunged by 2.9 percent and 3.2 percent, respectively.
U.S. crude oil ended sharply lower on Monday, mostly on demand concerns with the eurozone financial problems back in focus and a strong dollar. Crude for September, the new front-month contract, shed $3.69 or 4 percent to close at $88.14 a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange.
by RTT Staff Writer
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