RTTNews - The Australian market ended marginally lower on Wednesday following economic data that revealed that trade deficit widened more than expected during July following drop in exports. Sharp rise in gold stocks following higher bullion prices however limited the losses.

The benchmark S&P/ASX200 Index declined 0.19% or 8.60 points to close at 4,430, while the All-Ordinaries Index ended at 4,433, representing a loss of 3.70 points, or 0.08%.

On the economic front, the Australian Bureau of Statistics announced that the country's trade deficit expanded more than expected in July, with the deficit being the largest reported since May 2008. The trade deficit was at a seasonally adjusted A$1.56 billion in July compared to a revised A$538 million deficit in the previous month. Economists were looking for a deficit of about A$880 million.

In a separate report, the Commonwealth bank of Australia and the Australia Industry Group revealed that the performance of services index, which is a measure of service industry activity, climbed 3.9 points on month to 48 in August.

Light sweet crude oil price for October delivery ended at $68.28 a barrel in electronic trading, up $0.23 from its previous close $68.05 a barrel in New York on Wednesday.

Gold stocks advanced on higher bullion prices, limiting the losses in the overall market. Lihir Gold surged up 7.19%, Newcrest Mining soared 7.67% and Sino Gold Mining climbed 10.69%.

Metals and mining stocks ended mixed. BHP Billiton edged up 0.16%, Fortescue Metals added 0.24%, Gindalbie Metals gained 0.61%, Iluka Resources rose 4.71% and Oz Minerals climbed 2.44%. However, Rio Tinto bucked the trend and lost 1.27%.

Oil stocks ended in the negative territory. Woodside Petroleum lost 1.71%, Santos fell 0.58%, Oil Search edged down 0.16% and Origin Energy shed 0.33%.

Banks also ended weaker. ANZ Bank slipped 0.14%, Commonwealth Bank of Australia declined 1.16%, National Australia Bank fell 2.30% and Westpac Banking edged down 0.12%.

In the U.S., stocks ended in the negative territory for the third successive day on Wednesday amid lackluster trading as traders largely shrugged off economic data and looked towards key employment data to close out the week

The Dow closed down 29.93 points or 0.3 percent at 9,280.67, the Nasdaq fell by 1.82 points or 0.1 percent to 1,967.07 and the S&P 500 declined by 3.29 points or 0.3 points to close at 994.75.

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