Australian market closes lower amid weak commodity prices

SYDNEY, Nov. 30 (Xinhua) -- The Australian market closed lower on Wednesday, with weak commodity prices dragging down energy and resource counters.

At the close, the benchmark S&P/ASX 200 index was down 17 points, or 0.31 percent at 5,440.5. The broader All Ordinaries index was down 18.1 points, or 0.33 percent at 5,502.4.

In general, commodity prices have taken "a bit of a step back", CommSec market analyst Tom Piotrowski told Xinhua, with mining and energy stocks down, although there was a slight improvement in oil prices over the course of the Asian session.

But there is "just a lot of trepidation", he added, with the scheduled OPEC (Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries) meeting in Vienna on Nov. 30 evening and a "fair deal of skepticism" as to whether there would be any meaningful decision on production cuts.

"We've also got important outcomes to go over the remainder of the week, including the U.S. employment report on Friday ... if we see strong growth numbers in the U.S. on Friday night on jobs, then you could reasonably see the market get more agitated around the scope for U.S. interest rate increases over the course of next year."

On Wednesday, mining giant BHP Billiton fell 4.12 percent and rival Rio Tinto was down 4.37 percent. Gold miner Newcrest edged up 0.26 percent.

Oil Search shed 2.57 percent and Santos was down 2.96 percent, while Woodside Petroleum fell 2.37 percent.

Wesfarmers slipped 0.64 percent and rival Woolworths also edged down 0.69 percent.

Qantas climbed 3.77 percent and telecom giant Telstra edged up 0.2 percent.

[ Editor: Jiaming ]


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