The Australian share market has closed lower amid weakness across most sectors, with the miners the biggest drag following falls in commodity prices and a negative lead from US markets.
The benchmark S&P/ASX200 index finished Tuesday down 21.4 points, or 0.36 per cent, at 5,974.7 points.
CMC Markets chief market strategist Michael McCarthy said the local bourse was under pressure on Tuesday.
“The negative leads that we got from overseas plus the downdraft on commodity prices, plus an elevated Aussie dollar all seem to be coming together to push us lower today,” he said.
“We’re seeing just about every sector in the red.”
Mr McCarthy said investors are awaiting inflation data from the US tonight, which the market considers in its estimation of the pace of future interest rate hikes in the US.
“We just see a little shift away from that risk-on mood,” Mr McCarthy said.
In the US on Monday, the S&P 500 and the Dow Jones Industrial Average indices fell, and the price of iron ore dropped as investors remained cautious over new tariffs on imported steel and aluminium signed into law by US President Donald Trump last week.
Also, iron ore inventories, particularly in China, continue to grow.
In the mining sector, global miner BHP Billiton was 0.8 per cent lower at $28.67, Rio Tinto fell 2.0 per cent to $74.00, and Fortescue Metals dumped 2.9 per cent to $4.67.
Steelmaker BlueScope Steel was off 1.5 per cent at $15.64.
Newcrest lost 1.9 per cent as investors await further news on its Cadia gold mine shutdown.
In the energy sector, rising US shale output and tighter OPEC supplies dragged on Santos, which was one per cent lower at $4.93 and Oil Search, which lost 1.1 per cent to close at $7.07.
Woodside Petroleum eased eight cents, or 0.3 per cent, to $28.86 after it said it will run the West Australian Scarborough gas field after partner BHP backed its purchase of ExxonMobil’s 50 per cent stake.
In the banking sector, Commonwealth Bank descended 0.4 per cent to $77.05, National Australia Bank stepped back 0.2 per cent to $30.35, Westpac fell 0.2 per cent to $30.20, and ANZ gave away 0.4 per cent at $28.49.
Meanwhile, the Australian dollar was steady against a weak US dollar despite the fall in commodity prices.
At 1700 AEDT on Tuesday, the Aussie was worth 78.72 US cents, up from 78.70 US cents on Monday.
ON THE ASX:
* The benchmark S&P/ASX200 was down 21.4 points, or 0.36 per cent, at 5,974.7 points
* The broader All Ordinaries index was down 24.3 points, or 0.4 per cent, at 6,077.1 points
* The SPI200 futures contract was down 16 points, or 0.27 per cent, at 5,973 points
* National turnover was 3.8 billion securities traded worth $8.2 billion
CURRENCY SNAPSHOT AT 1700 AEDT:
One Australian dollar buys:
* 78.72 US cents, from 78.70 on Monday
* 84.06 Japanese yen, from 83.93 yen
* 63.86 euro cents, from 63.88 euro cents
* 56.68 British pence, from 56.78 pence
* 107.53 NZ cents, from 107.57 cents
The spot price of gold in Sydney at 1700 AEDT was $US1,320.08 per fine ounce, from $US1,322.57 per fine ounce on Monday.
BOND SNAPSHOT AT 1630 AEDT:
* CGS 4.50 per cent April 2020, 2.0271pct, from 2.0316pct on Monday
* CGS 4.75pct April 2027, 2.7599pct, from 2.7686pct
Sydney Futures Exchange prices:
* March 2018 10-year bond futures contract at 97.2025 (implying a yield of 2.7975pct), from 97.188 (2.812pct) on Monday.
* March 2018 3-year bond futures contract at 97.85 (2.15pct), from 97.845 (2.155pct).
(*Bond market closes taken at 1630 AEDT previous local session; currency closes taken from 1700 AEDT previous local session)