Australian Market Sharply Lower

Australian Market Sharply Lower

The FINANCIAL -- The Australian stock market opened sharply lower on September 29, tracking the weak cues from U.S. and European markets as well as lower commodity prices amid worries about the health of China's economy, according to Nasdaq.

In late-morning trades, the benchmark S&P/ASX200 Index is losing 140.80 points or 2.75 percent to 4,972.70. The broader All Ordinaries Index is down 141.30 points or 2.75 percent to 5,003.80.

In the mining space, BHP Billiton (BHP) is losing almost 6 percent, Rio Tinto (RIO) is down more than 5 percent and Fortescue Metals is losing more than 4 percent.

Steel and mining group Arrium has signed a deal with the South Australian government to work on ways to expand its wholly-owned Whyalla port. However, shares of the company are down more than 2 percent.

Bradken Ltd.'s chairman Nick Greiner will step down from his post and retire from the company's board in November. He will be succeeded by Phil Arnall, chairman of drilling services company AJ Lucas. Bradken's shares are declining more than 2 percent.

Gold miner Newcrest Mining is declining more than 2 percent and Evolution Mining is down more than 3 percent after gold futures ended lower overnight for a second-straight session.

OceanaGold's takeover of Toronto-stock exchange-listed Romarco Minerals has been approved by shareholders of both gold mining companies. However, shares of OceanaGold are down more than 3 percent.

Among oil stocks, Santos is losing almost 7 percent, Oil Search is lower by almost 4 percent and Woodside Petroleum is down more than 4 percent.

In the banking sector, ANZ Banking, Commonwealth Bank, Westpac (WBK) and National Australia Bank are lower in a range of 1.9 percent to 2.8 percent.

Kathmandu Holdings is set to quit the UK market after its full-year profit plummeted 52 percent from last year on weaker than expected sales and aggressive discounting. Shares of the outdoor goods' retailer are advancing more than 1 percent.

In the currency market, the Australian dollar fell below the US$0.70 mark on weak Chinese economic data released on Monday. In early trades Tuesday, the local unit was trading at US$0.6989, down from Monday's close of US$0.7033.

On Wall Street, stocks closed sharply lower on September 28, as weak economic cues out of China once again raised concerns about the health of the global economy.

The S&P 500 fell 49.56 points, or 2.6 percent to settle at 1,881.78, the Dow Jones Industrial Average lost 312.78 points, or 1.9 percent at 16,001.89 and the Nasdaq Composite dropped 142.52 points, or 3 percent to finish at 4,543.97.

European markets ended solidly in negative territory on September 28 as concerns over China returned to the forefront, after some disappointing economic data, prompting further weakness in commodity prices.

The DAX of Germany dropped by 2.12 percent, the CAC 40 of France fell 2.76 percent and the FTSE of the U.K. declined by 2.46 percent.

U.S. crude oil futures snapped a three-day gain to end sharply lower on September 28, on demand growth concerns with economic reports worldwide suggesting a slowdown globally, even as stock markets in U.S. and Europe trended firmly lower.

Crude oil futures for November delivery, the most actively traded contract, plummeted $1.27 or 2.8 percent to settle at $44.43 a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange September 28.

 

Author: The FINANCIAL