The Australian share market edged lower as the mining heavyweights were hit by falls in iron ore prices, while the Australian dollar hit a one-year low.
The benchmark S&P/ASX200 index was down 2 points, or 0.03 per cent, at 6,102.1 points, while the broader All Ordinaries index was down 3.9 points, or 0.06 per cent, at 6,208.9 points.
Shaw and Partners senior private client adviser Craig Sidney said the market started to wane in late trade, with several major Asian markets weaker and futures pointing to a sharp fall ahead on Wall Street.
Local mining stocks were hit by concerns about the implications on the global economy of a tariff war between the US and China, Mr Sidney said.
US President Donald Trump has threatened to impose new tariffs on $US200 billion of Chinese goods, and China’s government said it would respond with “strong countermeasures”.
“It just creates uncertainty. If you see a slowdown in China that then has a flow-on affect on demand for our resources, particularly the major miners,” Mr Sidney said.
Iron ore price futures also dropped by about five per cent.
Rio Tinto shed 2.2 per cent to $82.14, BHP fell 1.2 per cent to $32.36 and Fortescue Metals was 2.8 per cent lower at $4.52.
The healthcare sector was the strongest performer, with biotechnology giant CSL adding 2.7 per cent to a record high of $193.04, as investors moved into safe haven stocks.
Macquarie Group also hit a record high, adding 1.8 per cent to $118.50, while the major banks were mixed.
The concerns about the US and China tariff war, and the weaker iron ore prices, sent the Australian dollar to 73.65 US cents by 1700 AEST, its lowest level in 13 months.
“Often the US dollar is seen as a more safer currency than the Aussie,” Mr Sidney said.
ON THE ASX:
* The benchmark S&P/ASX200 index was down 2 points, or 0.03 per cent, at 6,102.1 points.
* The broader All Ordinaries index was down 3.9 points, or 0.06 per cent, at 6,208.9 points.
* The SPI200 futures contract was down 13 points, or 0.21 per cent, at 6,106 points at 1630 AEST
* National turnover was 2.9 billion securities traded, worth $6.5 billion.
CURRENCY SNAPSHOT AT 1700 AEST:
One Australian dollar buys:
* 73.65 US cents, from 74.44 US cents on Monday
* 80.77 Japanese yen, from 82.29 yen
* 63.58 euro cents, from 64.30 euro cents
* 55.74 British pence, from 56.18 pence
* 106.88 NZ cents, from 107.25 NZ cents
The spot price of gold in Sydney at 1700 AEST was $US1,280.02 per fine ounce, from $US1,279.30 per fine ounce on Monday.
BOND SNAPSHOT AT 1630 AEST:
* CGS 4.50 per cent May 2021, 2.0751pct, from 2.102pct on Monday
* CGS 4.75pct May 2028, 2.6237pct, from 2.671pct
Sydney Futures Exchange prices:
* September 2018 10-year bond futures contract at 97.365 (implying a yield of 2.635pct), from 97.315 (2.685pct) on Monday
* September 2018 3-year bond futures contract at 97.895 (2.105pct), from 97.865 (2.135pct).
(*Bond market closes taken at 1630 AEST previous local session; currency closes taken from 1700 AEST previous local session)