(RTTNews) - The Australian stock market is declining on Monday after the banking regulator's announcement of the launch of an independent inquiry into Commonwealth Bank dragged down banking stocks. In addition, weakness in base metal prices weighed on mining stocks.
In late-morning trades, the benchmark S&P/ASX 200 Index is declining 39.80 points or 0.69 percent to 5,704.10, off a low of 5,700.50. The broader All Ordinaries Index is down 36.70 points or 0.63 percent to 5,766.70.
The big four banks - ANZ Banking, Westpac, Commonwealth Bank and National Australia Bank - are lower in a range of 1.1 percent to 1.7 percent.
The Australian Prudential Regulation Authority or APRA said it will launch an inquiry to look at governance, culture and accountability practices at Commonwealth Bank after recent allegations that it violated laws.
In the mining space, Rio Tinto is declining more than 1 percent and Fortescue Metals is losing almost 2 percent, while BHP Billiton is up 0.2 percent.
Gold miners are advancing after gold prices gained on Friday. Newcrest Mining is edging up less than 0.1 percent and Evolution Mining is adding almost 1 percent.
Oil stocks are also higher after crude oil prices rose on Friday. Santos is rising more than 2 percent, Oil Search is adding 0.3 percent and Woodside Petroleum is up 0.2 percent.
Australian Pharmaceutical Industries, the operator of Priceline pharmacies, has withdrawn from the potential acquisition of Laser Clinics Australia saying the sale price was too high. Shares of API are adding 0.2 percent.
Amaysim Australia reported a 6.5 percent decline in net profit for the full year, while its underlying earnings rose 22.9 percent. The mobile service provider's shares are gaining almost 6 percent.
CSL has agreed to acquire U.S. biotechnology company Calimmune, which is developing a stem cell gene therapy to treat rate conditions such as sickle cell disease, for an up-front payment of $91 million. Shares of CSL are adding 0.3 percent.
Ten Network has been acquired by U.S. media giant CBS Corp. Shares of Ten Network are in a trading halt since June 13 after it was placed into voluntary administration.
In the currency market, the Australian dollar rose against the U.S. dollar, which weakened after the Jackson Hole speeches by global central bankers. In early trades, the local unit was trading at US$0.7925, up from US$0.7904 on Friday.
On Wall Street, stocks closed mixed on Friday after seeing early strength that partly reflected optimism about tax reform following comments from President Donald Trump's chief economic adviser Gary Cohn.
The Nasdaq edged down 5.68 points or 0.1 percent to 6,265.64, while the Dow inched up 30.27 points or 0.1 percent to 21,813.67 and the S&P 500 ticked up 4.08 points or 0.2 percent to 2,443.05.
The major European markets moved modestly lower on Friday. While the French CAC 40 Index slipped by 0.2 percent, the U.K.'s FTSE 100 and the German DAX Index both edged down by 0.1 percent.
Crude oil prices gained on Friday as the dollar fell and the U.S. petroleum industry braced for Hurricane Harvey. WTI crude rose $0.44 or 0.9 percent to close at $47.87 a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange.
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