Australian Market Modestly Lower

The Australian stock market is modestly lower on Monday after opening in the green, giving up the gains in the previous session, with the benchmark S&P/ASX 200 staying below the 7,500 level, despite the broadly positive cues from global markets on Friday, with strong gains in technology stocks, more than offset by weakness in mining stocks.

The benchmark S&P/ASX 200 Index is losing 13.40 points or 0.18 percent to 7,480.40, after hitting a low of 7,478.30 and a high of 7,505.60 earlier. The broader All Ordinaries Index is down 8.10 points or 0.11 percent to 7,701.40. Australian stocks closed modestly higher on Friday.

Among the major miners, Rio Tinto is losing almost 2 percent, BHP Group is down almost 1 percent and Fortescue Metals is declining more than 1 percent, while Mineral Resources is edging up 0.2 percent. OZ Minerals is flat.

Oil stocks are mostly higher. Woodside Energy is edging up 0.3 percent and Origin Energy is gaining more than 1 percent, while Beach energy is losing almost 1 percent. Santos is flat.

Among tech stocks, Afterpay owner Block is surging more than 5 percent, Appen is gaining more than 3 percent, Xero is advancing almost 5 percent, WiseTech Global is rising almost 7 percent and Zip is up almost 4 percent.

Gold miners are mostly weak. Northern Star Resources is losing almost 1 percent, Newcrest Mining is down more than 1 percent and Gold Road Resources is declining more than 2 percent, while Resolute Mining is adding almost 2 percent. Evolution Mining is flat.

Among the big four banks, National Australia Bank and Westpac are edging down 0.3 percent each, while ANZ Banking is gaining almost 1 percent. Commonwealth Bank is flat.

In other news, shares in IAG and Suncorp are slipping more than 4 percent and almost 3 percent, respectively, as the insurance firms announced they would be hit by significant losses due to the significant claims related to the floods in New Zealand.

In the currency market, the Aussie dollar is trading at $0.711 on Monday.

On Wall Street, stocks saw considerable volatility over the course of the trading session on Friday but managed to close mostly higher. The tech-heavy Nasdaq showed a strong move to the upside, ending the session at its best closing level in over four months.

The major averages pulled back well off their highs going into the close. While the Nasdaq jumped 109.30 points or 1.0 percent to 11,621.71, the S&P 500 rose 10.13 points or 0.3 percent to 4,070.56 and the Dow inched up 28.67 points or 0.1 percent to 33,978.08.

The major European markets also showed modest moves to the upside on the day. While the French CAC 40 Index closed just above the unchanged line, the U.K.'s FTSE 100 Index and the German DAX Index both inch up by 0.1 percent.

Crude oil prices fell Friday amid uncertainty about the outlook for oil demand. Profit taking after recent gains and indications that oil supply from Russia will surge also weighed on oil prices. West Texas Intermediate crude oil futures for March sank $1.33 or 1.6 percent at $79.68 a barrel. WTI crude futures shed 2.4 percent in the week.

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