LOS ANGELES – Australian stocks edged lower Thursday, as a mostly soft lead from the U.S. markets helped weigh on the S&P/ASX 200 , which lost 0.2% to 5,306.40. Mining stocks moved mostly lower as a rising dollar depressed some key commodity prices overnight, with Oz Minerals Ltd. down 1%, Fortescue Metals Group Ltd. off 1.5%, and Newcrest Mining Ltd. 1.1% lower. The big four banks all started lower as well, with Australia & New Zealand Banking Group and Commonwealth Bank of Australia down 0.2% each, while National Australia Bank Ltd. lost 0.4%, and Westpac Banking Corp. fell 0.5%. Retailers were mixed ahead of retail-sales data due out later in the day, as Harvey Norman Holdings Ltd. fell 0.5% and Myer Holdings Ltd. lost 0.7%, while David Jones Ltd. added 0.2%. Shares of Qantas Airways Ltd. , meanwhile, slipped 0.3% as Moody's downgraded the carrier's credit rating. Also on the data calendar for later in the day were inflation numbers from China, Australia's key export market.
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