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Australian Market Declines

The Australian stock market is declining on Thursday following the weak cues from Wall Street amid worries about the global economic recovery and uncertainty about new U.S. fiscal stimulus.

Investors also digested news that Westpac will pay a record fine of A$1.3 billion to settle a money-laundering case. Stocks are lower across the board.

The benchmark S&P/ASX 200 Index is losing 64.60 points or 1.09 percent to 5,859.30, after falling to a low of 5,824.80. The broader All Ordinaries Index is lower by 68.60 points or 1.12 percent to 6,042.70.

Among the big four banks, ANZ Banking, Westpac, National Australia Bank and Commonwealth Bank are lower in a range of 1.1 percent to 1.9 percent.

Westpac will pay a record fine of A$1.3 billion, the largest civil penalty in Australian corporate history, for breaching money laundering and terrorism financing laws.

Gold miners are weak after gold prices fell to a fresh two-month low overnight. Evolution Mining is tumbling more than 5 percent and Newcrest Mining is losing almost 3 percent.

Among oil stocks, Oil Search is losing more than 3 percent, while Santos and Woodside Petroleum are lower by almost 2 percent each even as crude oil prices rose modestly overnight.

In the mining sector, BHP Group, Rio Tinto and Fortescue Metals are declining more than 1 percent each.

Tech stocks followed their U.S. counterparts lower. Afterpay is lower by more than 3 percent, while Appen and WiseTech Global are declining more than 1 percent each.

On Wall Street, stocks closed sharply lower on Wednesday, reflecting renewed weakness among technology stocks. Concerns about surging coronavirus cases in certain parts of the world may also have weighed on the markets even as President Donald Trump indicated the U.S. would not follow the U.K.'s lead and implement a second round of lockdowns.

The Dow tumbled 525.05 points or 1.9 percent to 26,763.13, the Nasdaq plummeted 330.65 points or 3 percent to 10,632.99 and the S&P 500 plunged 78.65 points or 2.4 percent to 3,236.92.

Meanwhile, the major European markets moved to the upside on Wednesday. While the U.K.'s FTSE 100 Index surged up by 1.2 percent, the French CAC 40 Index climbed by 0.6 percent and the German DAX Index rose by 0.4 percent.

Crude oil futures settled modestly higher on Wednesday, supported by data showing a drop in U.S. crude inventories last week. WTI crude for November ended higher by $0.13 or about 0.3 percent at $39.93 a barrel.

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