SYDNEY, AAP – Commodity shares have slipped on the ASX despite Russian politicians warning bans on their oil exports could send prices to $US300 per barrel.
Energy and materials shares were lower in a stagnant market after rampant gains since Russian troops invaded Ukraine last month.
The benchmark S&P/ASX200 index was up 0.1 points, or 0.001 per cent, to 7038.7 points at 1200 AEDT.
The All Ordinaries index dropped 9.5 points, or 0.1 per cent, to 7311.7 points.
Energy shares lost two per cent despite the price of benchmark Brent crude oil rising to $US123.21 per barrel.
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The US and European allies have discussed banning Russian oil imports in an attempt to put further pressure on Russia to withdraw its troops.
Russian Deputy Prime Minister Alexander Novak said this would have catastrophic consequences and send prices to more than $US300 per barrel.
US markets earlier fell heavily on concerns over oil prices and the effects on inflation.
The Nasdaq Composite fell three per cent and confirmed it was in a bear market, having lost 20 per cent since its record high level in November last year.
While ASX materials shares were lower by one per cent, most categories were higher.
Healthcare fared best and was up two per cent. Market giant CSL gained almost three per cent to $257.06 after trading ex-dividend on Monday.
Consumer staples, which includes the supermarkets, was next best and rose one per cent.
There was better news for the Australian economy after a business survey showed confidence improved in February.
Fewer coronavirus infections helped the economic outlook, although the survey was done before the start of the Ukraine war.
In company news, Ampol said it had not purchased Russian oil or products since the conflict in Ukraine began.
The company has two Russian cargoes in its supply chain, purchased before the invasion, but said the Australian energy market was not reliant on Russian oil.
Ampol was down two per cent to $28.65.
Santos was one of the worst performing energy shares and lost three per cent to $7.91.
In the other commodity category, BlueScope Steel plunged seven per cent to $19.44 even as the company continues buying back shares.
Among the larger miners, BHP and Fortescue each lost one per cent to $49.60 and $19.15 respectively. Rio Tinto shed two per cent to $122.98.
The banking heavyweight stocks had mostly minor gains. The Commonwealth Bank was the best performer and rose one per cent to $95.98.
Environmental technology company Calix was higher after gaining regulatory approval for a crop protection product.
The Australian pesticides authority has approved the product, called Booster-Mag, which prevents pests in tomatoes and cucurbits.
Calix was up three per cent to $6.49.
Shares in oil and gas explorer Sacgasco were paused from trading due to an impending announcement.
Sacgasco last traded for two cents.
The Australian dollar was buying 73.30 US cents at 1200 AEDT, significantly lower than the 74.21 US cents at Monday’s close.