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Australian Market Declines

The Australian stock market is declining on Wednesday after a STAT News report raised concerns about the trial results of biotech company Moderna's coronavirus vaccine. Worries about rising trade tensions between Australia and China following Australia's call for an international investigation into the coronavirus also weighed on stocks.

The benchmark S&P/ASX 200 Index is down 38.80 points or 0.70 percent to 5,520.70, after touching a low of 5,507.00 earlier. The broader All Ordinaries Index is lower by 38.30 points or 0.68 percent to 5,620.50. Australian stocks rose to a more than two-month high on Tuesday.

Among the big four banks, ANZ Banking, Westpac, National Australia and Commonwealth Bank of Australia are lower in a range of 1.0 percent to 1.5 percent.

In the mining space, BHP and Rio Tinto are declining more than 1 percent each, while Fortescue Metals is edging down 0.1 percent.

Gold miners are lower even as gold prices rose overnight. Evolution Mining is lower by almost 2 percent and Newcrest Mining is losing more than 1 percent.

In the oil sector, Woodside Petroleum is lower by more than 1 percent and Santos is down 0.3 percent, while Oil Search is rising more than 1 percent after crude oil prices rose more than 2 percent overnight.

Australian Agricultural Co. reported a turnaround to profit for the full year, aided by a recovery in the live cattle markets. The company's shares are gaining more than 5 percent.

In economic news, Australia will see April results for the leading economic index from Westpac today.

In the currency market, the Australian dollar is edging higher against the U.S. dollar on Wednesday. The local unit was quoted at $0.6548, compared to Tuesday's close of $0.6546.

On Wall Street, stocks closed lower on Tuesday as traders cashed in on the rally seen in the previous session. Traders have recently expressed considerable optimism about the economy reopening, although lingering concerns about the coronavirus pandemic led to some caution. Traders were also reacting to comments from Federal Reserve Chair Jerome Powell, who reaffirmed the central bank will provide more support to the economy.

The Dow tumbled 390.51 points or 1.6 percent to 24,206.86, the Nasdaq slid 49.72 points or 0.5 percent to 9,185.10 and the S&P 500 slumped 30.97 points or 1.1 percent to 2,922.94.

The major European markets ended mixed on Tuesday. While the German DAX Index edged up by 0.2 percent, the U.K.'s FTSE 100 Index and the French CAC 40 Index fell by 0.8 percent and 0.9 percent, respectively.

Crude oil prices rose on Tuesday, supported by increased demand and output cuts, on the expiration of the front-month contract. WTI crude for June delivery climbed $0.68 or about 2.1 percent to $32.50 a barrel.

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