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Australian Market Slightly Lower

The Australian stock market is slightly lower in choppy trade on Friday, extending the slight losses in the previous session, with the benchmark S&P/ASX 200 staying above the 7,400 level, following the mixed cues overnight from Wall Street, led by weakness in energy and mining stocks, partially offset by strength in technology stocks.

Traders are also cautious as the country is set to gradually reopen its borders and after lifting lockdown restrictions in Victoria.

Victoria reported 2,189 new locally acquired cases and sixteen deaths on Thursday, even as Melbourne lockdown ends. NSW has reported 345 new local cases of COVID-19 and five deaths.

The benchmark S&P/ASX 200 Index is losing 12.10 points or 0.16 percent to 7,403.30, after hitting a low of 7,391.30 and a high of 7,431.40 earlier. The broader All Ordinaries Index is up 11.90 points or 0.15 percent to 7,716.60. Australian markets ended slightly lower on Thursday.

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

Oil stocks are mostly lower after crude oil prices tumbled overnight. Woodside Petroleum and Oil Search are losing more than 1 percent each, while Beach energy and Santos are declining almost 2 percent each. Origin Energy is edging down 0.2 percent.

Among tech stocks, Xero and WiseTech Global are gaining more than 1 percent each, while Appen is adding almost 2 percent. Afterpay is edging down 0.2 percent.

Among the big four banks, Commonwealth Bank, ANZ Banking, National Australia Bank and Westpac are all edging down about 0.3 percent each.

Gold miners are mixed. Resolute Mining is losing almost 2 percent and Gold Road Resources is edging down 0.4 percent, while Newcrest Mining and Evolution Mining are gaining almost 1 percent each. Northern Star Resources is edging up 0.1 percent

Shares in Lynas are declining more than 7 percent after the rare earths group reported a significant drop in quarterly sales revenue and production from the June quarter due to COVID issues.

Shares in Aurizon are losing almost 5 percent after it told investors it agreed to buy the One Rail Australia business in a $2.35 billion deal from Macquarie Asset Management and intends to divest the east coast part of the business in the future.

In economic news, the manufacturing sector in Australia continued to expand in October, and at a faster pace, the latest survey from Markit Economics showed on Friday with a manufacturing PMI score of 57.3. That's up from 56.8 in September, and it moves further above the boom-or-bust line of 50 that separates expansion from contraction. The survey also showed that the services PMI climbed to 52.0 in October from 45.5 in September, while the composite rose to 52.2 from 46.0 a month earlier.

In the currency market, the Aussie dollar is trading at $0.749 on Friday.

On Wall Street, stocks moved mostly higher over the course of the trading day on Thursday, extending the upward trend seen over the past several sessions. The S&P 500 moved higher for the seventh straight session, reaching a new record closing high.

The tech-heavy Nasdaq climbed 94.02 points or 0.6 percent to 15,215.70 and the S&P 500 rose 13.59 points or 0.3 percent to 4,549.78, while the Dow climbed well off its worst levels but still edged down 6.26 points or less than a tenth of a percent to 35,603.08.

Meanwhile, the major European markets all moved to the downside on the day. While the U.K.'s FTSE 100 Index slid by 0.5 percent, the French CAC 40 Index and the German DAX Index both fell by 0.3 percent.

Crude oil prices tumbled on Thursday, weighed down by a forecast that U.S. weather this winter will likely be warmer than average. Profit taking after recent strong gains and lower coal and natural gas prices also contributed to oil's decrease. West Texas Intermediate Crude oil futures for December ended down by $0.92 or 1.1 percent at $82.50 a barrel.

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