Australian Market Significantly Lower

The Australian stock market is significantly lower on Thursday, extending the losses in the previous session, with the benchmark S&P/ASX 200 below the 7,500 level, following the broadly negative cues overnight from Wall Street, as traders remain spooked amid the worsening domestic coronavirus situation, particularly in New South Wales and Victoria, which is hindering economic activity.

NSW has reported 1,405 new local cases of COVID-19 and five deaths on Wednesday, with Melbourne and Sydney, two of the largest cities, and some regional areas still under tough restrictions and lockdowns. Victoria recorded 324 new locally acquired cases, with active cases now totaling 2,166 across the state.

The benchmark S&P/ASX 200 Index is losing 73.40 points or 0.98 percent to 7,438.60, after hitting a low of 7,434.80 earlier. The broader All Ordinaries Index is down 73.80 points or 0.95 percent to 7,733.70. Australian markets ended slightly lower on Wednesday.

Among major miners, Rio Tinto is losing almost 2 percent, while Fortescue Metals is down almost 1 percent. OZ Minerals is declining almost 3 percent and BHP Group and Mineral Resources are down more than 1 percent each.

Oil stocks are lower. Beach Energy and Woodside Petroleum are declining almost 1 percent each, while Origin Energy is edging down 0.3 percent, Woodside Petroleum is losing more than 1 percent, Oil Search is down more than 1 percent and Santos is losing almost 2 percent.

Among the big four banks, Commonwealth Ban, ANZ Banking, National Australia Bank and Westpac are all losing almost 1 percent each.

In the tech space, Xero and Appen are losing more than 1 percent each, while Afterpay is declining almost 3 percent. WiseTech Global is edging up 0.3 percent.

Gold miners are mostly lower. Evolution Mining is edging down 0.3 percent and Resolute Mining is declining almost 3 percent, while Newcrest Mining and Northern Star Resources are down 0.4 percent each. Gold Road Resources is flat.

In other news, shares in Epsilon Healthcare are soaring almost 17 percent after the cannabis producer inked a five-year partnership with Canadian biotech Valens, giving it access to 85 percent of production capacity at Epsilon's Queensland cannabis production facility.

In the currency market, the Aussie dollar is trading at $0.736 on Thursday.

On Wall Street, stocks moved mostly lower during trading on Wednesday following the mixed performance seen in the previous session. With the drop on the day, the tech-heavy Nasdaq pulled back off yesterday's record closing high.

The major averages all finished the day in negative territory. The Dow dipped 68.93 points or 0.2 percent to 35,031.07, the Nasdaq slid 87.69 points or 0.6 percent to 15,286.64 and the S&P 500 edged down 5.96 points or 0.1 percent to 4,514.07.

The major European markets also moved to the downside on the day. While the German DAX Index tumbled by 1.5 percent, the French CAC 40 Index and the U.K.'s FTSE 100 Index slid by 0.9 percent and 0.8 percent, respectively.

Crude oil futures settled higher on Wednesday as prices rose on reports of slow progress in the restoration of crude output in the Gulf of Mexico. West Texas Intermediate Crude oil futures for October ended up $0.95 or 1.4 percent at $69.30 a barrel.

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