Headline indices of the Australia market were down on Wednesday, 12 September 2018, as escalating global trade tensions kept investors on edge. ASX sectors were mostly lower, with shares of materials, financials, property trusts, and telecom issues being notable losers, while energy and healthcare issues were notable gainers. In late-afternoon trades, the benchmark S&P/ASX200 index fell 8.18 points, or 0.13%, at 6,171.50 points, while the broader All Ordinaries index dropped 7.15 points, or 0.1%, at 6,280.50 points.
Investor confidence was chilled by the latest round of verbal threats in an intensifying US-China trade conflict. China told the World Trade Organization (WTO) on Tuesday it wanted to impose $7 billion a year in sanctions on the United States in retaliation for Washington's non-compliance with a ruling in a dispute over U. S. dumping duties. Separately, US President Donald Trump told reporters on Tuesday that the United States was taking a tough stance with China.
Shares of materials and resources were down after a fall in industrial metals prices due to worries about trade tensions. Rio Tinto, BHP Billiton and Fortescue Metals declined in a range of 0.5% to 1.5%.
However, energy stocks bucked the market and were up for the third straight session as a report of falling crude inventories and the looming sanctions against Iran bolstered buying interest into the sector. Crude oil stretched gains on Wednesday trade, as US sanctions squeezed Iranian crude exports and after US crude oil production in 2019 was forecast to grow at a slower rate than previously expected.
Brent crude futures were 0.3% higher at $79.31 per barrel after surging more than 2% on Tuesday. . In energy space, Oil Search and Woodside Petroleum were up almost 1% each, while Santos was higher by almost 2%.
Among individual stocks, Myer Holdings shares declined 6.3% after department store giant's reported a full-year net loss on asset write-downs and lower sales, while underlying net profit fell 52%.
Shares of APA Group gained 1.4% after the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission has approved a A$13 billion takeover bid by a Hong Kong consortium for Australia's biggest gas pipeline company.
CURRENCY: Australian Dollar fell against greenback and other major currencies on Wednesday, on concerns that any damage to the Chinese economy from a trade war could hurt Australia's exporters. The Australian dollar was at 70.94 US cents at late afternoon after falling to 70.85 US cents - its lowest level since February 2016 - overnight.
OFFSHORE MARKET NEWS, US stock market closed higher on Tuesday. The Dow Jones Industrial Average rose 113.99 points or 0.4% to 25,971.06, the Nasdaq climbed 48.31 points or 0.6% to 7,972.47 and the S&P 500 advanced 10.76 points or 0.4% to 2,887.89.
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