The Australian stock market is trading lower on Wednesday, tracking the negative lead overnight from Wall Street, as investors await cues from the much anticipated European Central Bank and Federal Reserve policy meetings this week. Investors also preferred to wait on the sidelines ahead of the release of Chinese manufacturing data later in the session.
China will on Wednesday see the July results of its manufacturing PMI, with forecasts suggesting a score of 50.4 - up from 50.2 in June.
In early morning trades, the benchmark S&P/ASX 200 Index is down 6.10 points or 0.14 percent to 4263.10 and the All Ordinaries Index is losing 5.20 points or 0.12 percent to 4,284.20.
In the mining space, BHP Billiton (BHP: Quote,BBL: Quote,BLT.L) is losing 0.85 percent and Rio Tinto (RIO: Quote,RIO.L) is adding 0.02 percent, while Fortescue Metals is down 0.24 percent and Newcrest Mining is trading lower by 0.89 percent.
Among banks, ANZ Bank is down 0.17 percent, Commonwealth Bank is losing 0.28 percent, National Australia Bank is trading lower by 0.12 percent and Westpac (WBK: Quote) is declining 0.13 percent.
In the energy sector, Oil Search is trading lower by 0.43 percent and Santos is down 0.14 percent, while Origin Energy is adding 0.42 percent.
Molopo Energy said it has sold its coal-seam gas assets in Queensland to PetroChina Co. Ltd. (PTR: Quote) for A$41 million. PetroChina is part of a planned gas-export joint venture in Queensland with Royal Dutch Shell (RDS-A: Quote,RDSA.L,RDSB.L,RDS-B: Quote). Shares of Molopo Energy are gaining 3.57 percent.
On the economic front, Australia will see July numbers for commodity prices and the AiG Performance of Manufacturing Index, as well as second-quarter figures for house prices.
The commodity price index saw an annual decline of 10.5 percent in June, down to a score of 97.5, while the manufacturing index came in at 47.2. House prices are expected to fall 0.5 percent on quarter and 4.2 percent on year after shedding 1.1 percent on quarter and 4.5 percent on year in the three months prior.
In the currency market, the Australian dollar is trading lower ahead of the release of Chinese manufacturing data. In early trades on Wednesday, the local unit was trading at US$1.0503, down from US$1.0519 late Tuesday.
On Wall Street, stocks moved moderately lower over the course of the trading day on Tuesday While selling pressure remained relatively subdued. Uncertainty ahead of monetary policy decisions from both sides of the Atlantic contributed to the weakness on Wall Street.
The Dow fell 64.33 points or 0.5 percent to finish at 13,008.68, while the Nasdaq slipped 6.32 points or 0.2 percent to end at 2,939.52 and the S&P 500 dropped 5.98 points or 0.4 percent to 1,379.32.
The major European markets also moved lower on Tuesday as the DAX of German rose by 0.15 percent, but the CAC 40 of France finished down by 0.87 percent. The FTSE 100 of the U.K. fell by 0.81 percent and the SMI of Switzerland decreased by 0.05 percent.
U.S. crude oil ended significantly lower Tuesday, as investor await cues from the much anticipated European Central Bank and Federal Reserve policy meeting this week. Nevertheless, oil prices pared some of the losses after news reports that the U.S. slapped Iran with additional sanctions over its nuclear development program.
Crude for September delivery dropped $1.72 or 1.9 percent to close at $88.06 a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange Tuesday.
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by RTT Staff Writer
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