Headline indices of the Australia stock market slipped into negative territory on Wednesday, 25 July 2018, shrugging off positive lead from offshore markets overnight, as a stronger Aussie dollar and profit booking pressure weighed down healthcare, consumer goods, and financial stocks, offsetting strong gains in materials and energy. Around late afternoon, the benchmark S&P/ASX 200 Index declined 19.44 points, or 0.3%, to 6,246.40. The broader All Ordinaries Index fell 14.09 points, or 0.22%, to 6,341.10.
Shares of banks and financial companies were the biggest drag on the benchmark index, as softer than expected 0.4% growth in consumer price inflation issued by the Australian Bureau of Statistics quelling any expectations of an imminent central bank rate hike. Top four banks ANZ Banking, National Australia Bank, Commonwealth Bank and Westpac were down in a range of 0.6% to 1.5%.
The healthcare stocks were down, with index heavyweight CSL down nearly 2%.
Gold miners are mixed after gold prices edged lower overnight. Evolution Mining is rising almost 2%, while Newcrest Mining is declining almost 1%.
Shares of materials and resources were key contributor to the index, on the back of solid gains in base prices in London Metal Exchange on Tuesday after China's plan to boost fiscal support for its economy. London copper soared 2.7% overnight to $6,328.00, while zinc rose 2.4% and nickel advanced 1.5%. Among miners, BHP Billiton, Fortescue Metals and Rio Tinto inclined in a range of 2% to 3%.
Among individual stocks, Wattle Health Australia gained 9% after the infant formula company won regulatory approval to sell milk powder in China.
ECONOMIC NEWS: Australia consumer prices climbed 0.4% on quarter in the second three months of 2018, the Australian Bureau of Statistics said on Wednesday, unchanged from the Q1 reading. On a yearly basis, inflation rose 2.1%, up from 1.9% in the three months prior.
CURRENCY NEWS: The Australian dollar index traded mixed against other major currencies as investors digested a batch of economic data. The Australian dollar was at 73.88 US cents, down sharply from 74.16 US cents on Monday.
OFFSHORE MARKET NEWS: The major U.S. stock indexes finished mostly higher Tuesday as investors welcomed strong corporate earnings reports from Google parent. The US government on Tuesday announced $12 billion in aid for farmers who have been the primary targets of retaliation by trading partners facing President Donald Trump's punishing tariffs. Alphabet and other companies. The S&P 500 index rose 13.42 points, or 0.5%, to 2,820.40. The Dow Jones Industrial Average gained 197.65 points, or 0.8%, to 25,241.94. The Nasdaq composite lost 1.11 points to 7,840.77.
The European markets ended solidly in positive territory on Tuesday, despite a survey that indicated economic growth across the 19-country eurozone moderated at the start of the third quarter. Germany's DAX rose 1.1% and the CAC 40 in France added 1%. The FTSE 100 index of leading British shares gained 0.7%.