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Australia Market falls on profit taking

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The Australian share market were down on Wednesday, 18 September 2019, snapping five sessions of winning streak, as investors opted to book recent profit ahead of domestic employment data on Thursday, which could influence the central bank's decision on whether to loosen monetary policy in the coming months. Meanwhile, selloff pressure mounted on concerns over geopolitical situation in Middle East and US-China trade dispute, and on caution ahead of US Federal Reserve's policy announcement later in the day. Around late afternoon, the benchmark S&P/ASX200 index fell 17.55 points, or 0.26%, to 6,677.70, while the broader All Ordinaries dropped 13.76 points, or 0.2%, to 6,787.90.

Investors await the Fed's latest decision on monetary policy, set to be released on Wednesday stateside, with expectations high for an additional rate cut henceforth in response to slowing global economic growth and muted inflation. Chairman Jerome Powell will hold a post-decision press conference Wednesday.

Meanwhile, concerns linger about trade tensions, with U. S. and Chinese working-level negotiators set to resume talks ahead of a meeting of top officials in October.

Energy and mining stocks were among major laggards, reflecting a fall in oil prices, after Saudi Arabia assured that the Kingdom would restore lost oil production by the end of the month.

The Brent crude price fell by 6.5% and the US Nymex price fell 5.7%. Oil and Gas major Woodside Petroleum and Oil Search were lower in a range of 2% to 3%. The world's largest miner BHP Group, which also has a huge exposure to oil, slipped almost 1 per cent.

The big four banks were modestly lower. ANZ Banking, National Australia Bank, Commonwealth Bank and Westpac were lower in a range of 0.1% to 0.5%.

Bucking trend, shares of IT, health and industrials were up, with tech sector was making the biggest percentage gain on a 3.4 per cent lift for Wisetech Global (WTC). For the industrials, Qantas (QAN) was up by 6% at its best levels after receiving a broker upgrade with its oil hedging position seen as smoothing out oil price volatility for the airline.

CURRENCY NEWS: The Australian dollar was down against greenback on Wednesday. The Australian dollar, sensitive to shifts in broader risk appetite, changed hands at $0.6846 after touching an earlier high of $0.6869.

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

First Published: Wed, September 18 2019. 11:22 IST