Australian Market Declines – Nasdaq

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( - The Australian stock market is declining on Wednesday following the weak lead overnight from Wall Street amid heightened geopolitical tensions after North Korea's nuclear missile test on Sunday.

In late-morning trades, the benchmark S&P/ASX 200 Index is down 25.60 points or 0.45 percent to 5,680.60, off a low of 5,662.70 earlier. The broader All Ordinaries Index is declining 24.70 points or 0.43 percent to 5,743.10.

In the banking sector, ANZ Banking, Westpac, Commonwealth Bank and National Australia Bank are lower in a range of 0.9 percent to 1.4 percent.

Gold miners are advancing after gold prices rallied overnight. Newcrest Mining is advancing 1 percent and Evolution Mining is rising more than 2 percent.

Oil stocks are also higher after crude oil prices rose almost 3 percent overnight. Woodside Petroleum is adding 0.3 percent, Oil Search is advancing almost 1 percent and Santos is rising almost 2 percent.

AGL Energy said it has made no commitment to sell its Liddell coal-fired power station in NSW nor extend its life beyond 2022. The energy producer's shares are declining almost 1 percent.

Acrux and pharma giant Eli Lilly have agreed to terminate their licensing deal for Axiron, a testosterone replacement therapy for men. Shares of Acrux are losing almost 23 percent.

On the economic front, Australia will release second-quarter numbers for its gross domestic product or GDP today.

In the currency market, the Australian dollar is higher against the U.S. dollar on Wednesday after the greenback fell following the release of weak U.S. durable goods data. In early trades, the local unit was trading at US$0.7995, up from US$0.7975 on Tuesday.

On Wall Street, stocks closed sharply lower on Tuesday, partly reflecting geopolitical concerns following news North Korea conducted a major nuclear test on Sunday. Traders also kept an eye on any developments in Washington, as lawmakers returned following the August recess.

The Dow plunged 234.25 points or 1.1 percent to 21,753.31, the Nasdaq tumbled 59.76 points or 0.9 percent to 6,375.57 and the S&P 500 slumped 18.70 points or 0.8 percent to 2,457.85.

The major European markets ended mixed on Tuesday. While the German DAX Index rose by 0.2 percent, the French CAC 40 Index dipped by 0.3 percent and the U.K.'s FTSE 100 Index fell by 0.5 percent.

Crude oil futures touched the highest in four weeks Tuesday, supported by a stronger dollar and concerns about rigs in the Gulf of Mexico. October WTI oil climbed $1.37 or 2.9 percent to settle at $48.66 a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange, the highest since August 11.

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Australian Market Declines - Nasdaq

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