RTTNews - The overnight fall on Wall Street triggered a fairly heavy sell-off in early trading in the Australian stock market on Friday. With concerns over the slow pace of economic recovery hurting sentiment, markets across the globe had ended sharply lower on Thursday and the mood is not any significantly different this morning.
Stocks across various sectors are trading weak this morning and losses posted by energy and materials stocks are more pronounced as of now.
The Australian benchmark index S&P/ASX 200 is currently trading at 3,754.70, down 59.20 points or 1.55% from its previous close. The broader All Ordinaries index is trading down 57.50 points or 1.5% at 3,747.20.
On Thursday, the S&P/ASX 200 average had ended 10.70 points down at 3,814 while the All Ordinaries slipped by 4.20 points to 3,805.
Key stocks from the banking sector, ANZ Bank, Commonwealth Bank, National Bank of Australia and Westpac Banking are trading weak. Diversified financials stock Macquarie Group is trading 2.25% down.
Energy stocks Santos, Woodside Petroleum and Origin Energy are trading lower.
BHP Billiton is said to be planning to exploit the West Australian government's removal of a longstanding ban by developing the $17 billion Yeelirrie deposit in the heart of the state. The mining giant has submitted documents to the Federal Environment Department signaling plans to start development at Yeelirrie in two years and to begin mining by 2014. Yeelirrie will increase Australian exports of uranium by 50 per cent and, at its peak, overtake Rio Tinto's Ranger uranium mine in the Northern Territory as the nation's biggest.
Demand for Australian uranium exports is forecast to continue growing strongly as major nations - led by China and India - embrace nuclear energy as a cleaner alternative to coal-fired power.
The BHP Billiton stock, however, is down trading down in the red with a 2.3% loss. Among other stocks in the materials space, Rio Tinto is down by over 4% and Orica is trading lower by 1.2%. However, Newcrest Mining is up by 1.6%.
In the currency market, the Australian dollar is currently trading at 0.7796 to the U.S. dollar, near an eight-month high, with investors selling U.S. assets across the board on fears swelling deficits may cost the United States its top-notch credit rating.
Among other markets in the Asia-Pacific region, Japan is trading lower with the benchmark Nikkei 225 average losing more than a per cent. New Zealand's NZX index is down 0.52% and the Korean benchmark KOSPI is trading lower by nearly a per cent.
Disappointing economic data rendered the mood bearish on Wall Street and sent stock prices down to a negative close on Thursday. The data released by the U.S. Labor Department showed that first time jobless claims slowed but continuing claims reach rose yet again, reaching a new historic high.
The Philadelphia Federal Reserve's business activity index for the first half of May showed improvement but rose by less than expected, further mitigating risk appetite.
Finishing slightly off its lows, the Dow lost 129.91 points as it settled at 8,292.13. The Nasdaq finished down by 32.59 points at 1,695.25, and the S&P 500 ended down by 15.14 points at 888.33.
It was a negative close for all the stock markets across the Asia-Pacific region on Thursday. Japan's benchmark Nikkei 225 Index slipped 0.8 percent and Hong Kong's Hang Seng Index fell 1.5 percent.
Major European markets also closed firmly on the downside. The French CAC 40 Index and the German DAX Index both fell considerably on the day, dropping by 2.6 and 2.7 percent, respectively. The U.K.'s FTSE 100 Index also finished lower, closing down 2.7 percent.
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