RTTNews - The Australian market ended in negative territory following weak cues from Wall Street where the major indices ended lower in the previous session as traders await the key job data slated for release later in the day. Sharp drop in commodity prices in the international market, profit taking on the last day of the week as well as hawkish comments about interest rates by Reserve Bank of Australia also dampened sentiment.

The benchmark S&P/ASX200 Index dropped 26.90 points, or 0.62%, to close at 4,299, and the All-Ordinaries Index ended at 4,303, representing a loss of 27.90 points, or 0.64%.

Releasing the latest quarterly statement on Monetary Policy, the Reserve Bank of Australia noted that the economic conditions have been stronger than expected and is likely to reduce the prospect of further cuts in the benchmark interest rates. The bank said it is still apprehensive about the strength of the global recovery and hinted that it would consider moving towards a more normal setting of the monetary policy by raising the interest from the unusually low 3% at present on signs of sustainable recovery in the economy.

Light sweet crude oil price for September delivery ended at $71.82 a barrel in electronic trading, down $0.12 from its previous close $71.94 a barrel in New York on Thursday.

Metals and mining stocks declined after commodity prices fell sharply in the international market on Thursday. BHP Billiton lost 2.04%, Rio Tinto fell 2.15%, Fortescue Metals slumped 3.00%, Gindalbie Metals shed 2.35%, and Oz Minerals declined 1.37%.

Banks also ended weaker on profit taking and hawkish comments from the Reserve Bank. ANZ Bank slipped 0.47%, National Australia Bank lost 0.97% and Westpac Banking fell 0.44%. However, Commonwealth Bank of Australia bucked the trend and edged up 0.23%.

The third largest insurance company in the country, Suncorp-Metway reported a 39% drop in full year profit for the year ended 30 June, hurt by investment losses. The stock declined 1.25% following the results.

Mixed trading was witnessed among oil stocks. While Santos added 0.27% and Oil Search edged up 0.18%, Woodside Petroleum lost 0.57% and Origin Energy edged down 0.28%.

Gold stocks also witnessed mixed trading. While Lihir Gold lost 1.83% and Newcrest Mining edged down 0.10%, Sino Gold ended in positive territory with a gain of 3.54%.

In the U.S., stocks ended in negative territory with modest losses on Thursday after showing strength in early trading following lower-than-expected weekly jobless numbers from the Labor Department which signaled that the pace of job losses might be slowing down. Profit taking was witnessed as traders turned cautious and preferred to move to the side lines ahead of the key employment report on Friday.

The Dow closed down by 24.71 points or 0.3% at 9,256, the Nasdaq slipped by 19.89 points or 1% to 1,973, and the S&P 500 fell by 5.64 points or 0.6% to 997.

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