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Australian Market Significantly Lower

The Australian stock market is significantly lower on Thursday, extending the losses in the previous two sessions, with the benchmark S&P/ASX 200 falling below the 7,200 level, following the mixed cues from Wall Street overnight, with weakness across most sectors, led by energy and mining stocks amid a dip in commodity prices. Gold mining stocks were the bright spot amid a spike in gold prices.

The benchmark S&P/ASX 200 Index is losing 56.20 points or 0.78 percent to 7,173.20, after hitting a low of 7,170.00 earlier. The broader All Ordinaries Index is down 57.30 points or 0.77 percent to 7,365.90. Australian stocks ended significantly lower on Wednesday.

Among major miners, BHP Group and OZ Minerals are edging down 0.2 percent each, while Rio Tinto and Fortescue Metals are losing almost 2 percent each. Mineral Resources is declining more than 3 percent.

Oil stocks are mostly lower. Beach energy is losing almost 1 percent and Santos is losing more than 1 percent, while Woodside Energy is declining more than 3 percent. Origin Energy is up almost 1 percent

In the tech space, Afterpay owner Block is losing almost 2 percent and Xero is down almost 1 percent, while Zip is gaining almost 1 percent and Appen is edging up 0.4 percent. WiseTech Global is flat.

Among the big four banks, Commonwealth Bank is flat, while Westpac is edging down 0.4 percent, ANZ Banking is losing more than 1 percent and National Australia Bank is declining almost 1 percent.

Among gold miners, Northern Star Resources is gaining more than 2 percent, Gold Road Resources is adding almost 2 percent and Evolution Mining is surging more than 4 percent, while Resolute Mining and Newcrest Mining are advancing 2.5 percent each.

In other news, shares in Link Administration Holdings are plunging almost 6 percent after it ended talks with Canada's Dye & Durham Ltd to sell its corporate markets and banking and credit management businesses for A$1.27 billion.

In economic news, Australia posted a merchandise trade surplus of A$12.217 billion in October, the Australian Bureau of Statistics said on Thursday. That exceeded expectations for a surplus of A$12.1 billion following the A$12.444 billion surplus in September.

Exports were down 0.9 percent on month to A$60.066 billion after rising 7.0 percent in the previous month. Total goods credits were down 1.1 percent at A$53.253 billion, while total services credits rose 0.4 percent to A$6.813 billion. Imports fell 0.7 percent on month to A$47.850 billion after being roughly flat a month earlier.

In the currency market, the Aussie dollar is trading at $0.670 on Thursday.

On Wall Street, stocks turned in a relatively lackluster performance during trading on Wednesday after moving sharply lower to start the week. The major averages spent most of the day bouncing back and forth across the unchanged line.

The tech-heavy Nasdaq eventually ended the session down 56.34 points or 0.5 percent at 10,958.55. The S&P 500 also edged down 7.34 points or 0.2 percent to 3,933.92, closing lower for the fifth straight session, while the Dow inched up 1.58 points or less than a tenth of a percent to 33,597.92.

Meanwhile, the major European markets moved to the downside on the day. While the German DAX Index fell by 0.6 percent, the U.K.'s FTSE 100 Index and the French CAC 40 Index both dipped by 0.4 percent.

Crude oil prices fell sharply Wednesday, weighed down by data showing a sharp increase in gasoline inventories last week. West Texas Intermediate Crude futures for January ended lower by $2.24 or 3 percent at $72.01 a barrel, losing for the fourth consecutive session.

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