After a slightly weak start and a subsequent fall to lower levels, the Australian stock market recovered some lost ground amid cautious trades on Friday.
Mining and energy stocks are mostly trading weak. Financial, consumer discretionary and industrial stocks are trading mixed.
The benchmark S&P/ASX 200 index, which declined to 4,716.8, is currently trading at 4,725, down 15.7 points or 0.3 percent from its previous close. The broader All Ordinaries index is trading at 4,743.9, down 17.5 points or 0.4 percent.
Among bank stocks, ANZ Bank and Westpac (WBK) are trading modestly higher, while Commonwealth Bank of Australia and National Australia Bank are up marginally. Bendigo & Adelaide Bank is adding 0.7 percent, while Bank of Queensland is trading flat.
Among top miners, BHP Billiton (BHP, BBL) is down 0.7 percent, Rio Tinto (RIO, RIO.L) is trading nearly a percent down, Newcrest Mining is down 2.3 percent and Fortescue Metals is losing about 2.5 percent.
In the energy sector, Woodside Petroleum, Santos, Origin Energy and Caltex Australia are trading lower by 0.3 to 0.7 percent, while Oil Search is trading 1.3 percent down.
Iluka Resources is trading lower by 4.4 percent. Regis Resources is down with a loss of 3.4 percent and Whitehaven Coal is losing nearly 3 percent.
Sims Metal Management, Lynas Corp. and Perseus Mining are down 2 to 2.4 percent, while PanAust and Asciano are trading lower by 1.8 percent and 1.2 percent, respectively.
Carsales.com, Fairfax Media, Toll Holdings and Treasury Wine Estates are up 2 to 3.3 percent. Tatts Group, Resmed Inc. (RMD), UGL, Boral and David Jones are trading higher by 1.3 to 2 percent.
On Wall Street, stocks posted modest losses on Thursday, with negative reaction to the minutes of the Federal Reserve's latest monetary policy meeting weighing on the markets late in the session.
The major averages regained some ground going into the close but still ended the day in negative territory. The Dow dipped 21.2 points or 0.2 percent to 13,391.4, the Nasdaq slid 11.7 points or 0.4 percent to 3,100.6 and the S&P 500 edged down by about 3 points or 0.2 percent to 1,459.4.
Major European markets turned in a mixed performance on Thursday. While the U.K.'s FTSE 100 index ended the day up by 0.3 percent, the German DAX index and the French CAC 40 index both lost 0.3 percent.
U.S. crude oil ended lower on Thursday, fluctuating for much of the day on some profit taking and demand growth concerns. Crude for February delivery ended down $0.20 or 0.2 percent at $92.92 a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange.
by RTT Staff Writer
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