The Australian stock market is trading lower on Wednesday with investors tracking a weak lead from Wall Street where stocks ended on a negative note overnight due to profit taking. The mood is quite cautious in the market with investors digesting a slew of earnings reports.
Energy, mining and industrial stocks are trading weak, while consumer staples, healthcare and property trusts stocks are finding good support.
The benchmark S&P/ASX 200 index is down 13.8 points or 0.3 percent at 4,369.6. The broader All Ordinaries index is trading at 4,395.8, down 15 points or 0.3 percent from its previous close.
Woodside Petroleum is trading lower by over 2 percent. The company's first-half profit fell slightly because of the costs of starting up its massive Pluto liquefied natural gas project in WA. Woodside posted a net profit of A$777.67 million in the six months to June 30.
Shares of Asciano Limited are down 1.6 percent despite the company reporting a 19 percent jump in full-year profit.
CSL is up 2.3 percent after the company said its annual net profit rose 4.5 percent to A$982.6 million, from A$940.6 million in the previous year.
Seven West Media is up 2.7 percent after the company reported a 97.1 percent jump in net profit for the year to June 30.
Seek Limited shares are up more than 5.5 percent. Perseus Mining, Mirvac Group, Harvey Norman Holdings and Wesfarmers are up 1.5 to 2.5 percent.
Meanwhile, Lynas Corp. shares are down more than 5 percent. Arrium, Amcor, Monadelphous Group and Whitehaven Coal are trading lower by 2 to 4 percent. Fairfax Media and Caltex Australia are also trading notably lower.
On Wall Street, stocks gave up early gains and ended moderately lower on Tuesday, with some traders taking some profits after recent strength. A lack of major U.S. economic data too contributed to the market's fall from higher levels.
While the Dow ended down 68.1 points or 0.5 percent at 13,203.6, the Nasdaq drifted down by about 9 points or 0.3 percent to 3,067.3 and the S&P 500 dropped 5 points or 0.4 percent to 1,413.2.
Major European markets ended notably higher on Tuesday. While the U.K.'s FTSE 100 index gained 0.6 percent, the French CAC 40 index and the German DAX index moved up by 0.9 percent and 0.8 percent, respectively.
U.S. crude oil ended at a three-month high on Tuesday amid speculation that the European Central Bank is stepping up efforts with further policy measures to tackle the eurozone debt crisis. Crude for September delivery gained $0.71 or 0.7 percent to close at $96.68 a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange.
by RTT Staff Writer
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