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Australian Market Declines

The Australian stock market is declining on Wednesday after U.S. stocks closed lower overnight on renewed coronavirus concerns as World Health Organization officials warned that the death toll from the pandemic may start to climb again.

News that Melbourne, the capital of the state of Victoria, has returned to lockdown for six weeks due to a surge in coronavirus cases also dampened investor sentiment.

The benchmark S&P/ASX 200 Index is losing 20.20 points or 0.34 percent to 5,992.70. The broader All Ordinaries Index is lower by 23.30 points or 0.38 percent to 6,103.40. Australian stocks gave up early gains to end on a flat note on Tuesday.

In the banking space, ANZ Banking, Westpac and National Australia Bank are all lower in a range of 1.6 percent to 1.8 percent, while Commonwealth Bank is down almost 1 percent.

In the oil sector, Oil Search is declining more than 1 percent and Woodside Petroleum is down 0.2 percent, while Santos is adding 0.2 percent after crude oil prices ended almost flat overnight.

Among the major miners, Fortescue Metals is rising more than 1 percent, while BHP Group and Rio Tinto are advancing almost 1 percent each.

Gold miners are also higher after gold prices settled at a nearly nine-year high overnight. Evolution Mining is gaining more than 3 percent and Newcrest Mining is higher by almost 3 percent.

Northern Star reported that its full-year sales and gold production declined 1.6 percent on its earlier outlook, but said its shareholders will receive a fully-franked interim dividend. The gold miner's shares are gaining almost 5 percent.

In the currency market, the Australian dollar is lower against the U.S. dollar on Wednesday. The local unit was quoted at $0.6942, compared to $0.6952 on Tuesday.

On Wall Street, stocks closed lower on Tuesday as a lack of major U.S. economic data allowed concerns about the coronavirus pandemic to resurface. The renewed coronavirus concerns came as World Health Organization officials warned that the death toll from the pandemic may start to climb again. Adding to the concerns, New York and New Jersey have added Delaware, Kansas and Oklahoma to the list of states from which travelers are required to self-quarantine for 14 days.

The Dow plunged 396.85 points or 1.5 percent at 25,890.18, the Nasdaq slumped 89.76 points or 0.9 percent to 10,343.89 and the S&P 500 tumbled 34.40 points or 1.1 percent to 3,145.32.

The major European markets also moved to the downside on Tuesday. While the U.K.'s FTSE 100 Index tumbled by 1.5 percent, the German DAX Index slumped by 0.9 percent and the French CAC 40 Index slid by 0.7 percent.

Crude oil futures settled flat on Tuesday as traders weighed the prospects for energy demand amid reports showing a surge in coronavirus infections in several parts across the world against current and near-term supply positions in the market. WTI crude for August delivery edged down $0.01 to $40.62 a barrel.

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