The Australian stock market slipped into negative territory on Monday after opening higher following the positive cues from Wall Street Friday amid optimism about coronavirus vaccines and a strong holiday shopping season.
Worries about rising Australia-China trade tensions weighed on the market following news that Australia has threatened to take China to the World Trade Organization or WTO after China imposed a series of tariffs on Australian products.
The benchmark S&P/ASX 200 Index is losing 22.40 points or 0.34 percent to 6,578.70, after rising to a high of 6,641.10 earlier. The broader All Ordinaries Index is down 17.00 points or 0.25 percent to 6,799.80. Australian stocks closed lower on Friday.
The big four banks – ANZ Banking, Commonwealth Bank, Westpac and National Australia Bank – are lower in a range of 0.6 percent to 1.2 percent.
Among the major miners, BHP Group is declining 0.6 percent and Rio Tinto is down 0.1 percent, while Fortescue Metals is adding more than 1 percent.
Oil stocks are also mostly lower after crude oil prices declined on Friday. Woodside Petroleum is lower by 0.3 percent and Oil Search is down 0.2 percent, while Santos is adding 0.5 percent.
Gold miners are weak after gold prices fell more than 1 percent on Friday. Evolution Mining is losing more than 2 percent and Newcrest Mining is lower by 0.6 percent.
On Wall Street, stocks closed higher in an abbreviated session on Friday amid optimism about a potential coronavirus vaccine being developed by Oxford University and AstraZeneca, although some questions have been raised about the efficacy of the vaccine. AstraZeneca Pascal Soriot told Bloomberg the British pharmaceutical giant is likely to run a new global trial of the vaccine candidate. Nonetheless, overall trading activity was subdued in the shortened trading session, as many traders remained away from their desks following the Thanksgiving Day holiday.
The Nasdaq jumped 111.44 points or 0.9 percent to 12,205.85, while the Dow edged up 37.90 points or 0.1 percent to 29,910.37 and the S&P 500 rose 8.70 points or 0.2 percent to 3,638.35.
The major European markets also moved to the upside on Friday. While the U.K.’s FTSE 100 Index inched up by 0.1 percent, the German DAX Index and the French CAC 40 Index climbed by 0.4 percent and 0.6 percent, respectively.
Crude oil futures settled lower on Friday, but still managed to post a strong weekly gain. WTI crude for January ended down $0.18 or about 0.4 percent at $45.53 a barrel.
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