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Australian Market Declines

The Australian stock market is declining on Monday following the weak cues from Wall Street Friday, reflecting a negative reaction to earnings results from major banks and weak U.S. retail sales data. Investors treaded cautiously as they looked ahead to the release of economic data from China, including its fourth-quarter numbers for gross domestic product.

The benchmark S&P/ASX 200 Index is lower by 43.10 points or 0.64 percent to 6,672.30, after falling to a low of 6,661.20 The broader All Ordinaries Index is down 41.90 points or 0.60 percent to 6,944.90. Australian markets ended little changed on Friday with a positive bias.

Among the major miners, BHP Group is losing almost 3 percent, Rio Tinto is lower by more than 2 percent and Fortescue Metals is down almost 1 percent.

Oil stocks are also weak after crude oil prices fell on Friday. Oil Search is tumbling almost 3 percent, Woodside Petroleum is declining more than 2 percent, and Santos is lower by almost 2 percent.

In the banking sector, National Australia Bank and ANZ Banking are lower by more than 1 percent each, while Commonwealth Bank is declining almost 1 percent and Westpac is down 0.5 percent.

Gold miners are mixed after gold prices drifted lower on Friday. Newcrest Mining is lower by more than 1 percent, while Evolution Mining is edging up 0.1 percent.

Tech stocks are mostly higher. WiseTech Global is rising more than 2 percent and Appen is advancing more than 1 percent, while Afterpay is down 0.3 percent.

On Wall Street, stocks closed lower on Friday, partly reflecting a negative reaction to earnings news from financial giants Wells Fargo, Citigroup and JPMorgan Chase. Negative sentiment was also generated in reaction to a report from the Commerce Department showing a continued decline in U.S. retail sales in the month of December.

The Dow ended the day down 117.26 points or 0.6 percent at 30,814.26 after tumbling by nearly 380 points in early trading. The Nasdaq slumped 114.14 points or 0.9 percent to 12,998.50 and the S&P 500 slid 27.29 points or 0.7 percent to 3,768.25.

The major European markets showed significant moves to the downside on Friday. While the U.K.'s FTSE 100 Index slumped by 1 percent, the French CAC 40 Index and the German DAX Index tumbled by 1.2 percent and 1.4 percent, respectively.

Crude oil futures settled sharply lower on Friday as worries about energy demand resurfaced amid rising coronavirus cases and tighter restrictions on movements in several countries, including China. Crude for February delivery tumbled $1.21 or about 2.3 percent to $52.36 a barrel.

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