Headline indices of the Australian share market closed mixed on Monday, 21 October 2019, as investor sentiment weighed by worries about European political instability after UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson failed to secure the votes needed to pass the Brexit deal he struck with the EU. At closing bell, the benchmark S&P/ASX200 index edged up 2.82 points, or 0.04%, to 6,652.51, while the broader All Ordinaries edged down 0.70 point, or 0.01%, to 6,757.66.
Brexit developments over the weekend created further uncertainty over the United Kingdom's impending departure from the European Union. U. K. Prime Minister Boris Johnson was thwarted by a cross-party group of politicians in Parliament who voted to postpone the meaningful vote on his new Brexit deal. That forced Johnson to ask Brussels for an extension to the current October 31 departure deadline, but EU leaders don't necessarily have to accept it. This week, the British government will present the full Withdrawal Agreement Bill to try and pass it through both the upper and lower houses of Parliament. A decisive vote by lawmakers would likely come later in the week.
On the U. S. and China trade development, the U. S. and China made 'substantial progress' at trade talks, according to Chinese Vice Premier Liu He.
After reaching a partial trade deal earlier this month, Beijing and Washington are working to pen a written agreement. Both sides have applied tariffs on billions of dollars worth of each other's products, which have roiled global markets, created business uncertainty and dented economic outlooks around the world. China said last week its economy grew by 6% on-year in the third quarter, which is believed to be the slowest GDP gain for the country in at least 27.5 years.
Among individual stocks, Wisetech (WTC) slumped by 12 per cent before re-entered a trading halt on further allegations from a U. S. based short seller. The U. S. group criticised the logistics software developer poorly integrated acquisitions. Last week, it made accusations of overstated profit results.
Treasury Wine Estates (TWE) was down on news its long-time CEO and Managing Director, Michael Clarke will retire in 12 months. Mr Clarke has been with the group behind Penfold's for over six years. Under his guidance, TWE shares have more than quadrupled in value.
CURRENCY NEWS: The Australian dollar hold gains against greenback on Monday, as investors continue to react to last week's positive September employment change report, optimism over a U. S.-China trade deal and hawkish comments from Reserve Bank of Australia (RBA) Governor Philip Lowe. The Australian dollar, sensitive to shifts in broader risk appetite, changed hands at $0.6892, up 0.0006 or +0.09%.
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