RTTNews - The Australian market opened on a negative note on Wednesday on the back of an overnight fall on Wall Street and weak crude oil and base metal prices. Stocks cutting across various sectors are trading lower with those from financials, energy and materials space leading the fall.

The Australian benchmark index S&P/ASX 200, which fell to 4,416.8 earlier this morning, is currently trading at 4,431, down 83.6 points or 1.8% from its previous close. The broader All Ordinaries index is down by 83.3 points or 1.8% at 4,428.

On Tuesday, the S&P/ASX200 index ended up 35.5 points or 0.8% at 4,515, while the All-Ordinaries index moved up by 27.2 points or 0.61% to 4,511.

Key banking stocks such as ANZ Bank, Commonwealth Bank of Australia, National Australia Bank and Westpac Banking Corp. are trading lower by 1.7% - 2.5%. Diversified financials stock Macquarie Group is currently trading down 2.8%.

In the materials space, top miners Rio Tinto and BHP Billiton are trading lower by 2% and 1.8% respectively. Bluescope Steel, Fortescue Metals, Orica and Onesteel are also trading lower. Newcrest Mining is bucking the trend and trading with a modest gain.

In the energy space, Woodside Petroleum is down nearly 2%, Santos is declining 1.8%, Origin Energy is trading lower by 2.2% and Oil Search is down about 2%.

Gunns Ltd stock is trading lower by as much as 11.8% as it completed the institutional component of its A$145 million equity raising to finance the acquisition of the timber processing division of Elders Ltd subsidiary ITC. The institutional offer raised A$115 million from the issue of about 128 million shares at 90 cents per share. Gunns said the institutional entitlement offer was extremely well supported, with strong demand from both existing and new investors. Gunns said the retail component of the offer would raise about $30 million through the issue of about 33 million new shares.

In economics news, the Australian Bureau of Statistics releases national accounts data for the June quarter today.

In the currency market, the Australian dollar opened lower today after a reassessment of US financial stocks and lower commodities prices prompted a fresh bout of US dollar and Japanese buying. In early trading, the Aussie was quoting at US$0.8257/62, down 1.44 US cents or 1.7% from Tuesday's close of US$0.8402/05. The Australian dollar is currently trading at 0.8268 to the U.S. dollar.

Among other markets in the Asia-Pacific region, Japan is down sharply with its benchmark index Nikkei declining by as much as 2.7%. Singapore, Korea and New Zealand are also trading with notable losses. Stock markets across the region closed mostly higher on Tuesday.

On Wall Street, stocks saw substantial weakness on Tuesday as traders shrugged off some positive economic reports and chose to exit counters on fresh concerns about the health of the U.S. financial sector.

The Dow ended with a big loss of 185.68 points or 2% at 9,310.60, the Nasdaq declined 40.17 points or 2% to 1,968.89 and the S&P500 closed down by 22.58 points or 2.2% at 998.04.

Major European markets closed notably lower, with the French CAC 40 index and the U.K.'s FTSE 100 sliding 1.9% and 1.8% respectively, while the German DAX index fell 2.5%.

Crude oil plunged toward US$68 per barrel as global stocks continued to decline, increasing worries over energy demand. Traders appeared to be looking for major jobs reports and the weekly petroleum inventory data. Light sweet crude for October delivery dropped to US$68.05, down US$1.91 on the session.

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