Australian shares finished firmly lower at the close, with the All Ordinaries Index (XAO) slipping by 1 per cent. The losses within the mining sector worsened throughout the afternoon, with the S&P/ASX200 Materials Index falling by 2.1 per cent.
The situation in Syria is showing no signs of improving this afternoon, with oil and gold prices surging while equities continue to be hit across the globe. Japan's Nikkei fell by 1.5 per cent, Hong Kong's Hang Seng dropped by 1.3 per cent, while South Korea's KOSPI eased by 0.07 per cent.
Of the larger companies on the local market, iron ore producer, Fortescue Metals (FMG) was one of the bigger losers. FMG slipped by 4.3 per cent. Qantas (QAN) slumped by 3.5 per cent ahead of its profit result expected tomorrow. Integrated energy company, AGL Energy (AGK) was one of the better performers following its FY13 profit numbers today. AGK shares jumped by 4.9 per cent.
At the close, 2.05 billion shares changed hands, worth $5.49 billion. 369 stocks gained ground, 573 finished weaker while 303 closed unchanged.
In Germany, consumer confidence slipped a touch from a previous reading of 7.0 to 6.9. Despite the pullback, sentiment is still close to its best level in close to six years.
Looking ahead, the monthly reading on Italian spending at a retail level will be issued at 6pm (AEST). A 0.1% rise in spending is expected by the market. Italy remains a concern, with political uncertainty one of the key worries. Bond yields (interest rates) have jumped in recent days in the euro zone´s third largest economy. Italy has the world´s third largest bond market (behind only the US and Japan).
The Bank of England´s new governor will be delivering a talk at around 9.45am (AEST) tonight.
In the US, pending home sales for July together with the latest crude oil inventories out at 12.30am (AEST).
Tomorrow, Qantas (QAN), Mayne Pharma, Perpetual and Westfield are scheduled to issue profit numbers. Business capital expenditure data and new home sales for July will also be issued.
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