SYDNEY, AAP – A BHP first-half profit which pleased investors could not distract Australian share market participants from the possibility of conflict in Europe.

BHP improved profit to $13.2 billion and paid a higher dividend, but the market was weighed down by the threat of Russia invading Ukraine.

Oil prices dropped but remain elevated on the chance economic sanctions are imposed against major oil producer Russia.

Energy shares gave back their three per cent rise from Monday.

The benchmark S&P/ASX200 index closed down 37 points, or 0.51 per cent, to 7206.9 points on Tuesday.

The All Ordinaries index closed lower by 44.8 points, or 0.59 per cent, to 7490.3 points.

The Australian dollar was buying 71.13 US cents at 1622 AEDT, lower than 71.19 US cents at Monday’s close.