RTTNews - The Australian stock market opened on a weak note Tuesday with the overnight decline on Wall Street weighing on investors' sentiment and prompting them to go in for some selling in early trading. However, after early weakness, the market has rebounded into positive territory, with stocks finding some solid support at lower levels ahead of the release of a slew of economic reports.
The benchmark index S&P/ASX 200, which drifted down to 4,466 earlier this morning, is currently trading at 4,502, up 22.9 points, or 0.5%, over its previous close. The broader All Ordinaries index is up by 15.9 points, or 0.4%, at 4,500.
On Monday, the S&P/ASX200 index had declined 10.5 points, or 0.2%, to 4.479.1 while the All Ordinaries index ended down by 11.8 points, or 0.3%, at 4,484.1.
In the banking space, ANZ Bank is currently up by over 1%, National Australia Bank is gaining 1.2% and Westpac is up by a modest 0.7%. Commonwealth Bank of Australia is trading slightly higher than its previous closing price. Macquarie Group is up by 1.1%.
Energy stocks Woodside Petroleum and Oil Search are trading lower by 1.2% and 1.6% respectively, while Santos and Origin Energy are trading in positive territory with modest gains.
Among materials stocks, Rio Tinto is down with a modest loss, while BHP Billiton and Orica are trading modestly higher. Bluescope Steel, Fortescue Metals and Newcrest Mining are exhibiting weakness.
In economic news today, according to a release from the Australian Industry Group and Pricewaterhouse Coopers, manufacturing activity grew for the first time in fifteen months in August on a rise in new orders. The Australian Industry Group-Pricewaterhouse Coopers performance of manufacturing index (PMI) rose 7.2 index points in August to 51.7 points. The PMI has improved for the fourth straight month since reaching 30.1 points in April, which was the lowest reading since the series began in 1992.
The Australian Bureau of Statistics will release building approvals data for July and balance of payments and foreign debt data for the June quarter. The ABS also releases government expenditures estimates for the June quarter.
The Reserve Bank of Australia holds its September board meeting and interest rate decision. The RBA also releases its index of commodity prices for July.
In the currency market, the Australian dollar opened higher this morning, with a late rally on Wall Street overnight pushing the currency above US$0.8400. The Aussie found support in anticipation of a positive assessment of the economy from the Reserve Bank of Australia following its monthly board meeting. The Australian dollar is currently trading at 0.8434 to the U.S. dollar.
Among other markets in the Asia-Pacific region, New Zealand, Japan and Korea are trading weak. The Singapore market is trading in positive territory with a modest gain. Stock markets across the region had closed mostly lower on Monday.
On Wall Street, stocks were seen struggling on Monday following a massive sell-off in the Chinese market. Still, with a slew of economic reports due for release, selling pressure subsided to an extent as the session progressed.
The Dow ended lower by 47.92 points, or 0.5%, at 9,496.28, the Nasdaq closed down by 19.71 points, or 1%, at 2,009.06 and the S&P 500 drifted down by 8.31 points, or 0.8%, to 1,020.62.
Major European markets ended lower on Monday, with the French CAC 40 index and the German DAX index slipping by 1.1% and 1% respectively. The U.K. market was closed on Monday for a bank holiday.
Crude oil plunged below US$70 on Monday as stocks around the world fell, renewing concerns for energy demand. With the drop, oil gave back a good portion of its monthly gains. Light sweet crude for October delivery dropped to US$69.96, down US$2.78 on the session. Prices fell to as low as US$69.13 earlier in the session.
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