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Market report: Wednesday, March 23

Markets

The Australian market is trading lower after a lacklustre lead from Wall Street after suicide bomb attacks in Brussels prompted a drop in key US travel stocks.

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The Dow Jones industrial average closed down 0.23 per cent and the S&P 500 lost 1.8 per cent after the attacks on the Belgian capital’s airport and subway.

But the impact on Australian travel stocks has been limited.

“It’s a horrible turn of events over in Brussels,” Australian Stock Report analyst Chris Conway said.

“(But) the world has seen this before and the world has kept spinning.”

Locally, at 1030 AEDT, Flight Centre shares were down $1.095, or 2.53 per cent, at $42.15 while Australian airlines Qantas and Virgin were unaffected.

However, Conway said trade on the Australian market would likely be subdued ahead of the Easter weekend as traders went into holiday mode.

The big banks were all lower with Commonwealth Bank down 32 cents at $76.59, Westpac falling 29 cents to $32.14, ANZ losing 17 cents to $25.27 and National Australia Bank shedding 22 cents to $27.55.

Mining giant BHP Billiton lost 22 cents to $17.68 while Rio Tinto fell 15 cents to $43.71.

Meanwhile, Woodside Petroleum shares were down 16 cents at $27.21 after it said it had put on hold its multi-billion dollar Browse liquefied natural gas project because of the challenging market environment.

Conway said no big-impact events were on the horizon to give the local market a hard push.

KEY FACTS:

* At 1016 AEDT, the benchmark S&P/ASX200 index was down 33.6 points, or 0.65 per cent, at 5,133 points.

* The broader All Ordinaries index was down 31.8 points, or 0.61 per cent, at 5,199 points.

* The June share price index futures contract was down 47 points at 5,116 points, with 10,036 contracts traded.

* At 1016 AEDT, national turnover was 185.4 million securities traded, worth $349.3 million.

AAP

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