Australian Market Modestly Lower

The Australian stock market is modestly lower on Monday, giving up some of the gains in the previous two sessions, with the benchmark S&P/ASX 200 below the 7,400 level, following the mostly negative cues from Wall Street on Friday, with weakness in energy, gold mining and travel stocks. The potential of more European countries reinstating full lockdowns is also sparking worries about the global economy.

Meanwhile, the domestic coronavirus situation is also still grim, particularly in Victoria, even as the lockdowns and restrictions have been lifted. Victoria recorded 1,029 new locally acquired cases and three deaths on Sunday, with the total active cases of COVID-19 across Victoria falling to 9,533. NSW reported only 180 new locally acquired cases and one death.

The benchmark S&P/ASX 200 Index is losing 25.30 points or 0.34 percent to 7,371.20, after hitting a low of 7,337.00 earlier. The broader All Ordinaries Index is down 22.20 points or 0.29 percent to 7,707.70. Australian stocks closed slightly higher on Friday.

Among the major miners, Rio Tinto is gaining almost 1 percent, Mineral Resources is adding more than 1 percent and Fortescue Metals is rising almost 2 percent, while OZ Minerals and BHP Group are edging down 0.3 percent each.

Oil stocks are lower, with Woodside Petroleum losing almost 3 percent, Origin Energy down more than 1 percent, Beach energy declining almost 4 percent, Oil Search sliding 2.5 percent and Santos slipping more than 2 percent.

Among tech stocks, WiseTech Global and Xero are losing almost 1 percent each, while Appen is gaining more than 1 percent. Afterpay is declining 1.5 percent.

Gold miners are lower. Evolution Mining, Resolute Mining, Newcrest Mining and Northern Star Resources are losing more than 2 percent each, while Gold Road Resources is declining almost 2 percent.

Among the big four banks, Commonwealth Bank, Westpac and ANZ Banking are losing almost 2 percent each, while National Australia Bank is down more than 1 percent.

Among travel stocks, Flight Centre is losing almost 5 percent, Webjet is declining more than 3 percent and Qantas is slipping almost 3 percent.

In the currency market, the Aussie dollar is trading at $0.723 on Monday.

On Wall Street, stocks once again moved in opposite directions during trading on Friday following the mixed performance seen in the previous session. While the tech-heavy Nasdaq reached a new record closing high, the Dow moved lower for the third straight session.

The Nasdaq climbed 63.73 points or 0.4 percent to 16,057.44, but the Dow slid 268.97 points or 0.8 percent to 35,601.98. Meanwhile, the S&P 500 spent the day bouncing back and forth across the unchanged line before closing down 6.58 points or 0.1 percent at 4,697.96.

Meanwhile, the major European markets 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 0.4 percent.

Crude oil prices plunged sharply on Friday amid rising concerns about the outlook for energy demand following a surge in COVID-19 cases and fresh restrictions in some European countries. West Texas Intermediate Crude oil futures for December settled at $75.94 a barrel, losing $2.47 or 3.2 percent.

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