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Australian Market Declines Ahead Of Unemployment Data

The Australian stock market is declining on Thursday following the mostly negative cues from Wall Street despite a dovish monetary policy announcement by the U.S. Federal Reserve. Investors now look ahead to the release of Australia's unemployment data for August later today.

Meanwhile, the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development or OECD has projected a smaller economic contraction for Australia this year, but cut its growth forecast for Australia in 2021.

The benchmark S&P/ASX 200 Index is losing 37.00 points or 0.62 percent to 5,919.10, off a low of 5,916.80 earlier. The broader All Ordinaries Index is lower by 38.70 points or 0.63 percent to 6,108.20. Australian stocks closed notably higher on Wednesday.

In the tech sector, Afterpay is losing almost 3 percent, while Appen and WiseTech Global are lower by more than 1 percent each after their U.S. peers fell overnight.

The major miners are also lower. Fortescue Metals is sliding more than 4 percent, Rio Tinto is losing more than 2 percent and BHP Group is declining almost 1 percent.

BHP will on Thursday face a parliamentary inquiry investigating the destruction of ancient heritage sites in Western Australia by its rival Rio Tinto.

Gold miners are mixed after gold prices edged higher overnight. Newcrest Mining is down 0.2 percent, while Evolution Mining is adding 0.3 percent.

In the oil sector, Oil Search and Santos are advancing more than 1 percent each, while Woodside Petroleum is adding 0.6 percent after crude oil prices rose sharply overnight.

Among the big four banks, National Australia Bank, Westpac and ANZ Banking are rising in a range of 0.2 percent to 0.8 percent, while Commonwealth Bank is lower by 0.5 percent.

In economic news, Australia will release unemployment data for August today, with forecasts suggesting the loss of 50,000 jobs following the addition of 114,700 jobs in July. The unemployment rate is tipped to rise to 7.7 percent from 7.5 percent a month earlier.

On Wall Street, stocks pulled back sharply in the final hour of trading on Wednesday after seeing strength for much of the session. The late-day pullback came despite a dovish monetary policy announcement by the Fed, with the central bank leaving interest rates unchanged and signaling rates are likely to remain at near-zero levels for years to come. The Fed announced its widely expected decision to keep the target range for the federal funds rate at zero to 0.25 percent.

While the Dow inched up 36.78 points or 0.1 percent to 28,032.38, the Nasdaq plunged 139.85 points or 1.3 percent to 11,050.47 and the S&P 500 slid 15.71 points or 0.5 percent to 3,385.49.

The major European markets ended mixed on Wednesday amid cautious trading. While the U.K.'s FTSE 100 Index slid by 0.4 percent, the French CAC 40 Index crept up by 0.1 percent and the German DAX Index rose by 0.3 percent.

Crude oil prices extended gains on Wednesday from the previous session, after data showed an unexpected drop in U.S. crude inventories in the week ended September 11. A sharp drop in U.S. offshore output due to the impact of Hurricane Sally further supported oil prices. WTI crude for October delivery jumped $1.88 or about 4.9 percent to $40.16 a barrel.

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