RTTNews - The Australian market ended flat on Wednesday with the benchmark S&P/ASX200 Index losing 7.80 points, or 0.18%, to close at 4,374, while the All-Ordinaries Index ended at 4,388, representing a gain of 1.60 points, or 0.04%.

Strength in energy stocks following the announcement of an 20-year agreement by PetroChina to purchase LNG from the proposed Gorgon development project to the extent of A$50 billion offset the weakness in the broader market on concerns about pace of recovery.

On economic news, the latest report from Westpac Bank and Melbourne Institute revealed that the leading index of economy activity in the country contracted at an annualized rate of 3.3% in June compared to a fall of 5.3% in May.

Light sweet crude oil price for September delivery ended at $69.21 a barrel in electronic trading, up $0.02 from its previous close $69.19 a barrel in New York on Tuesday.

Woodside Petroleum advanced 3.65%, despite reporting a 12% drop in profit for the first half, hurt by lower oil prices. Among others in oil space, Santos gained 1.45%. However, Oil Search slipped 0.89% and Origin Energy, which reported a 20% rise in underlying earnings for full year, lost 2%.

Among metals and mining stocks, Rio Tinto gained 2.28%, Fortescue Metals rose 2.27%, Iluka Resources surged up 8.96%, Oz Minerals advanced 2.29% and Orica Limited added 0.60%. Gindalbie Metals remained unchanged at previous close, while BHP Billiton buked the trend and ended lower by 1.48%.

Quantas Airways, the country's biggest airliner, gained 3.46% after the company, releasing the results for the second half, revealed that it is planning to embark on a series of cost-cutting measures to the extent of A$1.5 billion. The airline reported a net loss for the second half of the year, its first loss in six years. Virgin Blue Holdings, the second largest airline, soared 6.49%.

Banking stocks ended in negative territory on concerns about recovery. ANZ Bank fell 2.80%, Commonwealth Bank of Australia slipped 0.79%, National Australia Bank lost 0.96% and Westpac Bank shed 0.84%.

Gold stocks also ended weaker. Lihir Gold lost 3.15%, Newcrest Mining fell 2.57% and Sino Gold Mining declined 2.14%.

In the U.S., stocks ended in the positive territory partly offsetting the steep losses posted in the previous session amid some encouraging earnings reports from Home Depot (HD), Saks (SKS) and Target (TGT) all exceeding Wall Street estimates on the bottom line, although their revenues fell short of estimates. Traders largely shrugged off mixed economic data related to housing starts and producer price index.

The Dow closed up by 82.07 points or 0.9% at 9,217, the Nasdaq advanced by 25.08 points or 1.3% to 1,956 and the S&P 500 rose by 9.94 points or 1% to 990.

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