SYDNEY, AAP – Big banks and miners were all down on the ASX as shares traded lower for the second consecutive day.
Commonwealth Bank shares were ex-dividend and lost 2.78 per cent and contributed to financial shares being down by more than one per cent.
BHP gives its full-year earnings later on Tuesday after a year of surging iron ore prices.
However investors were not getting excited. BHP shares had the greatest losses of the big miners and were down 1.26 per cent.
The benchmark S&P/ASX200 index was lower by 56.2 points, or 0.74 per cent, to 7526.3 at 1200 AEST.
The All Ordinaries was down 54.9 points, or 0.69 per cent, to 7794.7.
The Reserve Bank said it is prepared to act if the economy deteriorates further, due to the coronavirus situation.
The statement in the minutes from the bank’s latest meeting comes as millions of people across Australia continue enduring lockdowns.
The Aussie dollar fell within the 73 US cents bracket soon after the minutes were published.
In the US overnight, the S&P 500 and the Dow Jones posted record high closes.
The two indices had minor gains, while the Nasdaq fell.
Investors were cautious after data on Monday showed the Chinese economy slowing.
In ASX company news, the Westpac board will consider returning excess capital to shareholders.
The bank said details would be revealed at its full-year earnings.
Shares were down 1.55 per cent to $25.39.
Among other chief rivals, ANZ and NAB lost less than one per cent.
Energy giant Santos made a first-half profit after a loss this time last year.
Santos had a net profit after tax of $354 million.
Investors will gain a higher payout. The fully franked interim dividend due was 5.5 US cents per share.
Shares were down 1.52 per cent to $6.11.
Santos boss Kevin Gallagher said he expected to sign a merger deed for Oil Search in weeks.
Oil Search shares were down 1.43 per cent to 37 cents.
Energy shares were lower by more than one per cent as a resurgent coronavirus limits travel around the world.
People have spent more on kitchen appliances while stuck at home during the pandemic and helped Breville improve full-year profit by 42 per cent.
Net profit after tax was $91 million.
Investors will receive a lower payout so that growth opportunities can be funded.
Shares were down 8.03 per cent to $30.67.
The Australian dollar was buying 73.13 US cents at 1200 AEST, lower than 73.37 US cents at Monday’s close.