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Australian Market Trade Sharply Lower

The Australian stock market is sharply lower on Thursday, giving up the gains in the previous four sessions, with the benchmark S&P/ASX 200 falling below the 7,100 level, following the carnage in the global markets overnight, amid continued concerns about economic slowdown, persistently rising inflation and rising prospects of sharper interest rate hikes. Some traders also booked profits after the recent surge in the markets.

The benchmark S&P/ASX 200 Index is losing 112.50 points or 1.57 percent to 7,070.20, after hitting a low of 7,037.60 earlier. The broader All Ordinaries Index is down 118.70 points or 1.60 percent to 7,307.90. Australian stocks ended significantly higher on Wednesday.

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

Oil stocks are lower. Origin Energy is down almost 1 percent, Woodside Petroleum losing almost 3 percent, Beach energy is slipping more than 5 percent and Santos is declining more than 1 percent.

In the tech space, Afterpay owner Block and WiseTech Global are losing almost 3 percent each, while Appen is down almost 2 percent, Zip is declining more than 2 percent and Xero is slipping more than 4 percent.

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

Among gold miners, Northern Star Resources is gaining almost 1 percent and Evolution Mining is adding more than 1 percent, while Gold Road Resources and Newcrest Mining are edging up 0.4 and 0.3 percent, respectively. Resolute Mining is declining almost 2 percent.

In the currency market, the Aussie dollar is trading at $0.697 on Wednesday.

On Wall Street, stocks showed a substantial move back to the downside during trading on Wednesday after showing a strong upward move in the previous session. With the steep drop on the day, the Dow and the S&P 500 ended the session at their lowest closing levels in over a year.

The major averages saw continued weakness late in the session, ending the day near their worst levels. The Dow plunged 1,164.52 points or 3.6 percent to 31,490.07, the Nasdaq plummeted 566.37 points or 4.7 percent to 11,418.15 and the S&P 500 tumbled 165.17 points or 4 percent to 3,923.68.

The major European markets all also moved to the downside on the day. While the German DAX Index tumbled by 1.3 percent, the French CAC 40 Index and the U.K.'s FTSE 100 Index slumped by 1.2 percent and 1.1 percent, respectively.

Crude oil futures settled lower on Wednesday despite data showing a drop in crude inventories last week. A stronger dollar amid rising prospects of sharper interest rate hikes by the Federal Reserve also contributed to the decline. West Texas Intermediate Crude oil futures for June ended lower by $2.81 or about 2.5% at $109.59 a barrel.

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