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Australian Market Declines

The Australian stock market is declining on Wednesday following the mixed cues overnight from Wall Street and on news that British Prime Minister Theresa May's Brexit plan was soundly defeated by UK lawmakers.

The benchmark S&P/ASX 200 Index is losing 23.40 points or 0.38 percent to 6,151.40, after touching a low of 6,140.80 earlier. The broader All Ordinaries Index is down 21.80 points or 0.35 percent to 6,238.80. Australian stocks closed marginally lower on Tuesday.

Oil stocks are weak despite a slight increase in crude oil prices. Woodside Petroleum is declining more than 1 percent, Santos is down 0.6 percent and Oil Search is lower by 0.4 percent.

The major miners are also mostly lower. BHP Group is down 0.6 percent and Rio Tinto is lower by 0.5 percent, while Fortescue Metals is adding 0.6 percent.

In the banking space, National Australia Bank, Westpac and Commonwealth Bank are down in a range of 0.3 percent to 0.8 percent, while ANZ Banking is adding 0.4 percent.

Meanwhile, gold miners are advancing after gold prices rebounded overnight. Newcrest Mining is rising more than 2 percent and Evolution Mining is advancing more than 1 percent.

Amcor said it expects its acquisition of U.S.-based Bemis to be completed in May. However, the packaging company's shares are lower by 0.7 percent.

Sigma Healthcare has rejected a A$709 million takeover offer from Australian Pharmaceuticals Industries as it is not in the best interests of its shareholders. The pharmacy operator's shares are losing almost 5 percent.

Shares of Yowie Group are gaining more than 24 percent after the confectionery maker received a A$20 million takeover bid from investment firm Keybridge Capital.

In economic news, Australia will see March results for the consumer confidence index from Westpac today.

In the currency market, the Australian dollar is slightly lower against the U.S dollar on Wednesday. The local currency was quoted at $0.7063, down from $0.7069 on Tuesday.

On Wall Street, stocks closed mixed on Tuesday as shares of Boeing continued to weigh on the Dow came after the European Union, China, the U.K. and other countries grounded the company's 737 MAX jets following the second crash in less than 6 months. Meanwhile, the broader markets benefited from the release of tame inflation data, which suggests the Federal Reserve will continue to refrain from raising interest rates in the near future.

The Dow fell 96.22 points or 0.4 percent to 25,554.66, while the Nasdaq climbed 32.97 points or 0.4 percent to 7,591.03 and the S&P 500 rose 8.22 points or 0.3 percent to 2,791.52.

The major European markets also turned in a mixed performance on Tuesday. While the German DAX Index dipped by 0.2 percent, the French CAC 40 Index inched up by 0.1 percent and the U.K.'s FTSE 100 Index rose by 0.3 percent.

Crude oil futures ended slightly higher on Tuesday, with traders looking ahead to the weekly inventory data and reacting to recent report from the International Energy Agency. WTI crude oil futures for April ended up $0.08 or 0.1 percent at $56.87 a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange.

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