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Australia Market falls ahead of US-China trade deal deadline

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The Australian share market finished session lower on Thursday, 12 December 2019, giving back much of Wednesday's gains, dragged lower on caution ahead of the U. K. general election and European Central Bank (ECB) monetary policy decision later in the session, along with little clarity as to whether planned US tariff increases on Chinese goods from December 15 will go ahead. At closing bell, the benchmark S&P/ASX200 index decreased by 43.80 points, or 0.65%, to 6,708.83, while the broader All Ordinaries fell 42.41 points, or 0.62%, to 6,8110.53.

Traders remained cautious amid uncertainties surrounding an initial trade deal between the United States and China. The U. S. is due to impose fresh duties on Chinese goods by Sunday. As per reports, U. S.

President Donald Trump is expected to meet with top trade advisers on Thursday to discuss the planned Dec. 15 tariffs on some $160 billion in Chinese goods.

Almost all ASX sectors declined, with the exception of mining stocks. Westpac (WBC) received plenty of attention as it held its highly anticipated Annual General Meeting. WBC shares slumped by 13% in November following the announcement of an AUSTRAC investigation and resignation of its CEO.

Redbubble (RBL) slumped by 44% after announcing softer than expected sales over the three months to December 9. RBL - which is a global online marketplace for independent artists - blamed the downgrade on increased price competition and lower apparel sales.

Webjet (WEB) dropped by 2.6%, however this follows a 9.6% surge yesterday thanks to speculation of takeover interest in the travel group.

Lynas Corp (LYC) surged by 9.7% following a Reuters article which reported the US army is looking to fund the construction of rare earth processing facilities of the development of weapons. The US has historically bought around 80% of its rare earths from China. LYC is one of the larger producers outside of China.

Charter Hall (CHC) jumped 4.7% after announcing a partnership and 49% interest in a portfolio which includes most of BP's convenience retail stores in Australia. It expects this to boost its profits in FY20.

CURRENCY NEWS: The Australian dollar, sensitive to shifts in broader risk appetite, declined against greenback. The Australian dollar changed hands at $0.6884 after rising from levels below $0.681 in the previous session.

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(This story has not been edited by Business Standard staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)

First Published: Thu, December 12 2019. 12:29 IST
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