RTTNews - The Australian stock market ended in negative territory on Tuesday, dragged down by resource stocks on lower commodity prices in the international market. A mixed closing on Wall Street Monday and lingering doubts about the magnitude and the pace of a global economic recovery impacted the market, which resumed trading after a long weekend.
In the U.S., no major economic reports were released on Monday and traders utilized the opportunity to take some profits in morning session. However, speculation about a near-term recovery in the world's largest economy lured investors towards some selective buying, propping up the markets in a late-stage rally, enabling the indices to end mixed around the unchanged line.
The Dow finished up by 1.36 points or 0.02% at 8,764, the Nasdaq dipped by 7.02 points, or 0.4% to 1842.40, and the S&P 500 fell 0.95 points or 0.1% to 939.
The All Ordinaries Index opened at 3,959, slightly lower than its previous close at 3,969, but moved above the unchanged line on recovery hopes. However, a drop in copper prices in the international market led resource stocks lower, pulling down the index into negative territory amid volatile trading. The index ended down at 3,934, representing a loss of 35.40 points or 0.89%. The benchmark S&P/ASX 200 Index followed a similar trend and ended lower at 3,935, a loss of 36.30 points or 0.91%.
On the economic front, the latest survey by the National Australia Bank revealed that business confidence in the country increased in May. The Bank stated that its business confidence index rose 12 points from April to a reading of minus-2. NAB also said its index of current business conditions declined 4 points on month, to a reading of minus-14..
In a separate report, the Australia and New Zealand Banking Group revealed that total job ads eased 0.2% in May to a seasonally adjusted weekly average of 136,457, compared to the same period last year. The report further noted that the latest decline is the 13th straight month of decline, but the pace of decline is slowing, having declined 7.5% during April 2009.
Crude oil prices ended higher with a gain of $1.25 at $69.34 a barrel in Asian trading. Light sweet crude for July delivery recovered smartly from early losses and managed to end with a marginal loss of 35 cents at $68.09 on the New York Mercantile Exchange on Monday on recovery hopes.
Resource stocks dragged down the markets on lower copper prices in the international market. BHP Billiton, the world's largest mining company, lost 4.40%, and its rival Rio Tinto shed 2.59%. Fortesque Metals slipped 2.20% and Iluka Resources fell 1.46%.
Gold stocks also ended weaker on lower gold prices. Lihir Gold fell 3.83%, Newcrest Mining lost 3.33% and Sino Gold plunged 6.23%.
Oil stocks were mixed. While Santos added 0.40%, Oil Search slipped 1.06% and Woodside Petroleum lost 1.06%.
In banking space, ANZ Bank edged up 0.61%, Commonwealth Bank advanced 1.31%, and Westpac Banking gained 0.61%. However, National Australia Bank bucked the trend and ended down 1.14%.
CSL Ltd, the world's biggest maker of blood plasma products, gained more than 5% after announcing plans to repurchase as much as 9% of its stock valued at $1.3 billion from the market, The company's plan to acquire Talecris Biotherapeutics Holdings was blocked by the U.S. Federal Trade Commission, and as such, the company intends to return most of the money it raised last year for the proposed acquisition.
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