Australian shares inched lower on Wednesday, with most losses in energy stocks and major banks, tracking an overnight Wall Street sell-off as worries about rising inflation in the United States weighed on risk sentiment.
Building materials firm CSR Ltd jumped as much as 6.3% to a more than 13-year high after posting a higher full-year profit. MSCI's broadest index of Asia-Pacific shares outside Japan faltered 0.5%, after tumbling 1.6% on Tuesday for its biggest daily percentage drop since March 24. Across the Tasman Sea, New Zealand's benchmark S&P/NZX 50 fell 0.2% to 12,613.9. In other markets, Japan's Nikkei and the S&P 500 E-minis futures were up.
* The currencies of major natural resource suppliers such as Canada stood firm amid rising commodity prices. The Australian dollar, another proxy for commodity prices, was not far from a 10-week high of $0.7891 struck on Monday.
* U.S. crude gained 17 cents to $65.45 a barrel. Brent crude added 15 cents to $68.70 per barrel. Spot gold was off at $1,829.9 an ounce. The government’s focus on boosting Australians’ tech skills might also help reduce the costs for the Australian companies, in the long run. Even as the ASX200 is down by 80 basis points, the ASX’s IT sector index – ASX 200 Information Technology – is up 2.016%. Flag carrier Qantas said that it will adjust its planned international flights from end-Oct to late-Dec. QAN extends losses to third session; slides as much as 3.9% to hit lowest since Feb. 1. Tourism service providers Flight Centre Travel and Webjet also fell.