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Australian Market Modestly Lower

The Australian stock market is modestly lower on Wednesday, extending the losses in the previous session, with the benchmark S&P/ASX 200 falling below the 7,400 level, following the broadly negative cues overnight from Wall Street, with weakness technology and financial stocks, partially offset by strong gains in the energy sector amid rising crude oil prices.

The country's Covid-19 infections also remain a concern. New South Wales reported 32,297 new cases and 32 deaths on Tuesday and Victoria also reported 20,769 new cases and 18 deaths. Queensland recorded 19,932 new cases and 11 deaths and Tasmania reported 1,185 new cases.

The benchmark S&P/ASX 200 Index is losing 41.40 points or 0.56 percent to 7,367.40, after hitting a low of 7,336.30 earlier. The broader All Ordinaries Index is down 43.80 points or 0.57 percent to 7,692.00. Australian stocks ended slightly lower on Tuesday.

Among major miners, OZ Minerals is edging down 0.1 percent and Fortescue Metals is losing almost 1 percent, while Mineral Resources is advancing more than 1 percent and Rio Tinto is edging up 0.5 percent. BHP Group is flat.

Oil stocks are higher. Woodside Petroleum is gaining more than 1 percent, and Beach energy adding more than 3 percent, while Santos and Origin Energy are advancing more than 2 percent each.

In the tech space, WiseTech Global is losing almost 4 percent, Zip is edging down 0.5 percent, Afterpay is declining more than 1 percent, Appen is edging down 0.3 percent and Xero is slipping almost 3 percent.

Among the big four banks, ANZ Banking, National Australia Bank and Westpac are losing almost 1 percent each, while Commonwealth Bank is down 1.5 percent.

Among gold miners, Newcrest Mining is edging up 0.3 percent and Resolute Mining is adding more than 1 percent, while Northern Star Resources is losing more than 2 percent, Evolution Mining is down more than 1 percent and Gold Road Resources is declining almost 1 percent.

In the currency market, the Aussie dollar is trading at $0.718 on Wednesday.

On Wall Street, stocks showed a significant weakness over the course of the trading day on Tuesday. The weakness followed a surge in Treasury yields due to concerns about imminent interest rate hikes, spooking investors and encouraging them to cash in.

The major averages opened sharply lower and remained in the red throughout the trading day. The Dow plummeted 543.34 points or 1.51 percent to finish at 35,368.34, while the NASDAQ tumbled 268.15 points or 1.56 percent to close at 14,506.90 and the S&P 500 sank 85.74 points or 1.84 percent to end at 4,577.11.

The major European markets also showed notable weakness on the day. The U.K.'s FTSE 100 ended 0.63 percent down, Germany's DAX slid 1.01 percent and France's CAC 40 shed 0.94 percent.

Crude oil prices spiked on Tuesday, extending gains from the previous session. West Texas Intermediate Crude for February delivery climbed $1.39 or 1.63 percent to close at $86.82 per barrel.

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