Australian Market Notably Lower

The Australian stock market is trading notably lower on Tuesday, extending the slight losses in the previous session, with the benchmark S&P/ASX 200 just above the 7,400 level, following the mixed cues from Wall Street overnight, as traders remain concerned over the rapid rise in domestic Covid-19 cases, with the tally of infections surpassing 1 million on Monday, and its impact on the economy. Materials and energy stocks are down on weak commodity prices.

New South Wales reported 25,870 new cases and 11 deaths on Monday and Victoria also reported 37,994 new cases and 13 deaths. Tasmania reported 1,379 new cases.

The benchmark S&P/ASX 200 Index is losing 45.00 points or 0.60 percent to 7,402.10, after hitting a low of 7,392.80 earlier. The broader All Ordinaries Index is down 41.90 points or 0.54 percent to 7,724.20. Australian stocks closed slightly lower on Friday.

Among the major miners, OZ Minerals is losing almost 2 percent and Rio Tinto is edging down 0.5 percent, while BHP Group and Mineral Resources are down almost 1 percent each. Fortescue Metals is gaining more than 1 percent.

Oil stocks are mostly lower. Woodside Petroleum is losing almost 1 percent, Santos is declining almost 2 percent and Origin Energy is down more than 1 percent, while Beach energy is edging up 0.4 percent.

Among the big four banks, National Australia Bank and ANZ Banking are losing more than 1 percent each, while Commonwealth Bank is declining almost 2 percent and Westpac is edging down 0.5 percent.

Among tech stocks, Xero and Zip are adding almost 1 percent each, while Appen is edging up 0.2 percent and Afterpay is gaining almost 2 percent. WiseTech Global is flat.

Gold miners are higher. Resolute Mining is gaining more than 2 percent, Gold Road Resources is adding more than 1 percent, Northern Star Resources is up almost 2 percent, Evolution Mining advancing almost 3 percent and Newcrest Mining is rising almost 1 percent.

In economic news, the value of retail sales in Australia was up a seasonally adjusted 7.3 percent on month in November, the Australian Bureau of Statistics said on Tuesday - coming in at A$33.411 billion. That beat expectations for an increase of 3.9 percent and was up from 4.9 percent in October.

Meanwhile, November had a merchandise trade surplus of A$9.423 billion in November, the Australian Bureau of Statistics said on Tuesday. That was shy of expectations for a surplus of A$10.6 billion and down from the downwardly revised A$10.781 billion surplus in October (originally A$11.22 billion).

Goods and services credits (exports) rose A$691 million or 2 percent to A$43.859 billion, driven by a rise in exports of rural goods. Goods and services debits (imports) rose A$2.049 billion (6 percent) to A$34.436 billion, driven by a rise in imports of primary industrial supplies.

In the currency market, the Aussie dollar is trading at $0.719 on Tuesday.

On Wall Street, stocks showed a notable rebound over the course of the trading session on Monday following an early sell-off. The major averages climbed well off their worst levels of the day, with the Nasdaq reaching positive territory.

The Nasdaq tumbled by as much as 2.7 percent in early trading but ended the day up 6.93 points or 0.1 percent at 14,942.83. Meanwhile, the S&P 500 edged down 6.74 points or 0.1 percent at 4,670.29 and the Dow fell 162.79 points or 0.5 percent at 36,068.87.

Meanwhile, the major European markets all moved to the downside on the day. While the U.K.'s FTSE 100 Index fell by 0.5 percent, the German DAX Index tumbled by 1.1 and the French CAC 40 Index plunged by 1.4 percent.

Crude oil prices drifted lower Monday on concerns about the outlook for energy demand due to the rapid surge in the Omicron variant of the coronavirus across the globe. A firm dollar amid rising prospects for a series of interest rate hikes weighed as well on crude oil prices. West Texas Intermediate Crude futures for February slipped $0.67 or 0.9 percent at $78.23 a barrel.

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