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Australian Market Extends Losses

The Australian stock market is extending losses on Tuesday from the previous session following the weak cues overnight from Wall Street amid fears the coronavirus outbreak could become a pandemic. Weak local corporate earnings results also dampened investor sentiment.

The benchmark S&P/ASX 200 Index is losing 107.50 points or 1.54 percent to 6,870.80, after touching a low of 6,800.00 earlier. The broader All Ordinaries Index is lower by 110.80 points or 1.57 percent to 6,954.60. Australian stocks tumbled on Monday.

Oil stocks are notably lower after crude oil prices plunged overnight. Santos is lower by almost 3 percent and Woodside Petroleum is declining almost 2 percent.

Oil Search reported an 8 percent decrease in full year profit amid a fall in energy prices and declared a lower final dividend. The company's shares are losing almost 4 percent.

The major miners are also weak. BHP and Rio Tinto are losing more than 2 percent, while Fortescue Metals is lower by almost 2 percent.

In the banking space, National Australia Bank, Westpac, ANZ Banking and Commonwealth Bank are declining in a range of 1.4 percent to 1.9 percent.

Gold miners are also lower despite a surge in safe-haven gold prices overnight. Evolution Mining is losing almost 4 percent and Newcrest Mining is losing more than 2 percent.

Ardent Leisure's shares are falling more than 6 percent following news that an inquest into four deaths at Dreamworld found the company's owners could be fined A$3 million if prosecuted.

Blackmores reported a 46 percent fall in first-half profit and said that the coronavirus threat as well as higher costs would have a material impact on its full-year results. The vitamins producer's shares are lower by more than 1 percent.

Caltex Australia said its profit for full-year 2019 on a historical basis dropped 31 percent from last year and also cut its final dividend. The convenience store, petrol station and refinery firm said chief financial officer Matthew Halliday will become interim CEO, replacing current CEO Julian Segal. Shares of Caltex Australia are down 1 percent.

Appen reported a 0.3 percent decrease in statutory net profit after tax for the full year despite a 47 percent surge in revenues, and increased its interim dividend by one cent. However, the tech company's shares are down almost 1 percent.

In the currency market, the Australian dollar is higher against the U.S. dollar on Tuesday. The local unit was quoted at $0.6608, compared to $0.6597 on Monday.

On Wall Street, stocks closed sharply lower on Monday, reflecting concerns about the spread of the coronavirus amid a spike in the number of confirmed cases outside of China. A jump in confirmed coronavirus cases in South Korea and Italy as well as new cases in Middle East countries like Iraq and Afghanistan also added to concerns about the outbreak escalating into a pandemic.

The Dow plunged 1,031.61 points or 3.6 percent to 27,960.80, the Nasdaq plummeted 355.31 points or 3.7 percent to 9,221.28 and the S&P 500 tumbled 111.86 points or 3.4 percent to 3,225.89.

The major European markets also showed substantial moves to the downside on Monday. While the U.K.'s FTSE 100 Index showed a 3.3 percent nosedive, the French CAC 40 Index and the German DAX Index both plunged by 4 percent.

Crude oil prices plunged sharply on Monday amid rising concerns about the outlook for energy demand due to the rapidly spreading coronavirus outside China. WTI crude for April delivery plunged $1.95 or about 3.7 percent to $51.43 a barrel.

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