Australia’s share market was flat early despite a positive lead from Wall Street.
The S&P/ASX200 benchmark index was lower by 0.2 points, or zero per cent, to 5899.3 points at 1200 AEST on Tuesday.
The index reached a session high of 5919.2 in the first hour of trade, but then flattened.
The All Ordinaries index was up by 6.6 points, or 0.10 per cent, to 6085.1.
Health companies and miners were helping the indices avoid any notable falls.
The health sector was higher by 0.85 per cent, while materials – which includes miners – was up by 0.54 per cent.
BHP rose by 0.57 per cent to $37.45, Rio Tinto was down 1.15 per cent to $102.53 and Fortescue gained 0.11 per cent to $17.73.
Information technology was the top sector, up 1.72 per cent following the earlier trend set by Wall Street.
The Reserve Bank board minutes have shown the board was considering further policy measures to support economic recovery that would likely be in place for some time.
In the minutes of the September 1 board meeting, the central bank board members said “substantial, coordinated and unprecedented” easing of fiscal and monetary policy in Australia was helping to sustain the economy through the coronavirus pandemic.
“They considered it is likely that fiscal and monetary support would be required for some time given the outlook for the economy and the labour market,” the minutes said.
The big four banks all remained lower. ANZ was down 1.04 per cent to $17.49, the Commonwealth slumped by 0.72 per cent to $65.69, NAB fell 1.0 per cent to $17.22 and Westpac dropped 1.06 per cent to $16.79.
Qantas is considering moving and downsizing its offices and aviation facilities within Australia as part of continued efforts to cut costs amid the pandemic.
The carrier is reviewing co-locating properties such as its head office in Sydney and Jetstar’s office in Melbourne, after laying off thousands of workers in recent months.
Qantas said it had no intentions to use offshore property
Shares were lower by 0.25 per cent to $3.93.
In the US earlier, stocks ended sharply higher as signs of progress in developing a COVID-19 vaccine and a spurt of multi-billion dollar deals lifted investor optimism.
US investors were buoyed by drugmaker AstraZeneca, which resumed its British clinical trials of its COVID-19 vaccine. Pfizer and German biotech firm BioNTech SE proposed to expand their phase three vaccine trial to about 44,000 participants.
Merger-related news also lifted the market, such as computer graphics company Nvidia’s plans to buy UK-based chip designer Arm from Japan’s SoftBank Group.
The Dow Jones Industrial Average rose 327.69 points, or 1.18 per cent, to 27,993.33, the S&P 500 gained 42.57 points, or 1.27 per cent, to 3,383.54 and the Nasdaq Composite added 203.11 points, or 1.87 per cent, to 11,056.65.
The Aussie dollar was buying 73.05 US cents at 1200 AEST, higher from 72.83 US cents at the close on Monday.