SYDNEY, AAP – Shares were marginally lower on the Australian market after people in Brisbane began their first day of a coronavirus lockdown and the outbreak infected more people.
The S&P/ASX200 benchmark index was down 12.7 points, or 0.18 per cent, to 6786.8 at 1200 AEDT on Tuesday.
The index rose soon after trading opened to a session high of 6836.3.
However the index then declined and just before 1200 AEDT was at a session low of 6774.4.
The All Ordinaries at 1200 AEDT was lower by 16.1 points, or 0.22 per cent, to 7020.3.
The materials sector, which was the strongest on Monday, was weakest and down 0.82 per cent.
Financials was down 0.39 per cent.
There were gains of more than one per cent for the information technology and telecommunications sectors.
Queensland authorities reported another eight coronavirus infections have emerged in Brisbane, totalling 15 infections since the outbreak emerged last week.
People in Brisbane began a three-day lockdown on Monday evening.
Some states and territories have imposed quarantine conditions on people arriving from Brisbane or Queensland.
Meanwhile overseas, shipping is moving again in Egypt’s Suez Canal after tugs refloated a giant container ship which had blocked the channel for almost a week.
The Ever Given had run aground after high winds and the blocked trading route had raised concerns for oil supply.
The price of Brent oil was $US65.15 per barrel, while the ASX energy sector was down 0.39 per cent.
Earlier in the US, investors shook off earlier worries about a hedge fund default that roiled global banking stock.
Nomura and Credit Suisse are facing billions of dollars in losses and regulatory scrutiny after a US investment firm, named by Reuters as Archegos Capital, defaulted on equity derivative bets, putting investors on edge about who else might be exposed.
The Dow Jones Industrial Average rose 0.3 per cent, the S&P 500 lost 0.09 per cent and the Nasdaq Composite dropped 0.6 per cent.
On the ASX, AGL wants to split its business in two as it comes under increasing pressure to transition to clean energy.
AGL unveiled plans for a “New AGL” business focused on low carbon-emitting technologies offering electricity, gas, internet and mobile services.
The other business – dubbed PrimeCo – would continue operating its coal-fired power stations to provide electricity.
Shares were up 0.59 per cent to $10.23.
In banking, the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission said it will not oppose NAB’s purchase of neobank 86400.
The regulator said its consultation found there were other businesses similar to the online-only 86400.
NAB shares were down 0.99 per cent to $25.87.
The other members of the big four, as well as Macquarie, were all down by less than one per cent.
In mining, BHP dropped 0.98 per cent to $45.41, Fortescue lost 1.11 per cent to $20.35 and Rio Tinto shed 2.04 per cent to $109.96.
The Australian dollar was buying 76.36 US cents at 1200 AEDT, higher from 76.21 US cents at Monday’s close.