RTTNews - The Australian market opened lower on Wednesday with participants pressing some heavy sales following a negative lead from Wall Street overnight amid a decline in U.S. consumer confidence index denting hopes of an economic revival. Energy, materials, bank and healthcare stocks are among the major losers. Consumer staples and consumer discretionary stocks are also seen attracting seller this morning.

The benchmark index S&P/ASX 200 opened at 3,940, currently trading at 3,889, down nearly 66 points from its previous close. The broader All Ordinaries index is down by close to 63 points at 3,885.

On Tuesday, the S&P/ASX 200 index ended up 68 points or 1.75% at 3,955 while the All Ordinaries moved up by 65 points or 1.68% to 3,948.

Materials stocks BHP Billiton and Rio Tinto are down by 2.7% and 2.5% respectively. Newcrest Mining, Orica, Bluescope and Fortescue Metals are also trading sharply lower.

Energy stocks Woodside Petroleum, Origin Energy and Santos are down with sharp losses. In the banking space, Commonwealth Bank of Australia, National Australia Bank and Westpac Banking Corporation are trading sharply lower while ANZ Bank is down with a modest loss.

According to a survey, the manufacturing sector continued to decline in June, although the pace of easing slowed. The Australian Industry Group/PricewaterhouseCoopers Performance of Manufacturing Index rose by 0.9 index points in June to 38.4 points, seasonally adjusted. June marked the 13th consecutive month that the index was below the 50-point level, indicating contraction in activity.

In the currency market, the Australian dollar opened weaker Wednesday. In early trading, the Australian dollar was trading at US$0.8061/66, down from Tuesday's close of US$0.8128/33. The Australian dollar is currently trading at 0.8048 to the U.S. dollar.

Despite a slightly positive start, Wall Street ended lower Tuesday as fears of a prolonged recession and job losses dented consumer confidence and rendered the mood bearish. The Conference Board's Consumer Confidence index fell to 49.3 points in June from a revised 54.8 in May.

The Dow ended down by 82.38 points or 1% at 8,447, the Nasdaq dipped by 9.02 points or 0.5% to 1,835.04, and the S&P 500 fell 7.91 points or 0.9% to 919.32.

Stock markets across the Asia-Pacific region ended Tuesday's session on a mixed note. Japan's benchmark Nikkei 225 Index closed up by 1.8%, while Hong Kong's Hang Seng Index slid 0.8%.

Major European markets closed firmly on the downside, with the German DAX Index and French CAC 40 Index finishing down by 1.6% and 1.7%, respectively. The U.K.'s FTSE 100 Index also fell, showing a decrease of 1%.

Oil prices sank from eight-month peaks today after new data signaled a plunge in consumer confidence in the U.S., the world's largest energy consumer. New York's main contract, light sweet crude for delivery in August, tumbled US$1.60 from yesterday's closing price to US$69.89 per barrel, after earlier touching US$73.38 - a level unseen since October.

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