Australian Market Modestly Lower

The Australian stock market is modestly lower on Monday, giving up some of the gains in the previous four sessions, with the benchmark S&P/ASX 200 staying above the 7,200 level, following mixed cues from Wall Street on Friday, with weakness across most sectors amid the growing unrest in China over the unprecedented COVID restrictions.

The benchmark S&P/ASX 200 Index is losing 28.80 points or 0.40 percent to 7,230.70, after hitting a low of 7,218.10 earlier. The broader All Ordinaries Index is down 27.60 points or 0.37 percent to 7,420.00. Australian stocks closed modestly higher on Friday.

Among the major miners, Rio Tinto is losing more than 1 percent, BHP Group is declining almost 1 percent and Mineral Resources is slipping almost 2 percent, while Fortescue Metals is edging up 0.3 percent. OZ Minerals is flat.

Oil stocks are mostly lower. Beach energy is losing more than 2 percent, Woodside Energy is declining more than 1 percent and Santos is down almost 2 percent, while Origin Energy is edging down 0.2 percent.

Among tech stocks, Afterpay owner Block is losing almost 2 percent, Appen is slipping more than 3 percent and Zip is declining more than 2 percent, while WiseTech Global is gaining almost 1 percent. Xero is flat.

Gold miners are mostly weak. Newcrest Mining and Gold Road Resources are losing more than 1 percent each, while Evolution Mining is declining more than 2 percent. Northern Star Resources are edging up 0.4 percent and Resolute Mining is gaining almost 2 percent.

Among the big four banks, Commonwealth Bank is losing almost 1 percent, while ANZ Banking and Westpac are edging down 0.2 to 0.4 percent each. National Australia Bank is edging up 0.2 percent.

Shares in Bank of Queensland are losing more than 6 percent after CEO George Frazis suddenly departed from the company.

In the currency market, the Aussie dollar is trading at $0.671 on Monday.

On Wall Street, stocks turned in a lackluster performance during trading on Friday with trading activity remaining subdued following the Thanksgiving Day holiday on Thursday. Despite the choppy trading, the Dow ended the session at a new seven-month closing high.

The major averages eventually finished the shortened session mixed. While the Dow climbed 152.97 points or 0.5 percent to 34,347.03, the S&P 500 edged down 1.14 points or less than a tenth of a percent to 4,026.12 and the Nasdaq slid 58.36 points or 0.5 percent to 11,226.36.

Meanwhile, the major European markets moved modestly higher on the day. While the U.K.'s FTSE 100 Index rose by 0.3 percent, the French CAC 40 Index inched up by 0.1 percent and the German DAX Index closed just above the unchanged line.

Crude oil futures pared early gains and settled lower on Friday with investors weighing the prospects for energy demand from China. Markets also continued to closely track the news about the discussions over a price cap on Russian crude. West Texas Intermediate Crude oil futures for December ended lower by $1.66 or about 2.1% at $76.28 a barrel. WTI Crude futures shed about 4.8% in the week.

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