Aust shares close sharply lower

The Australian share market closed sharply lower, hurt by steep falls in energy, mining and banking stocks.

The local market continued to lose ground throughout the afternoon following some disappointment that the Reserve Bank of Australia didn't cut the benchmark interest rate given the rising Australian dollar.

"With the dollar rising, people are expecting the RBA to drop rates. Now that's what the message could mean with the market softening off at the end of the day," Wealth Within analyst Janine Cox said.

"It could mean that there just a bit of disappointment...that perhaps they should be doing something and they're not," Ms Cox said.

The Reserve Bank of Australia on Tuesday left the benchmark interest rate unchanged at a record low of two per cent.

The local falls were bigger than those on Wall Street, with the Dow Jones Industrial Average dipping 0.3 per cent and Nasdaq falling 0.46 per cent overnight.

The nation's big four banks, led by the Commonwealth Bank, lost further ground on Tuesday.

CBA shares dropped $1.67 to $71.25, Westpac fell 58 cents to $29.13, ANZ fell 34 cents to $22.47 and National Australia Bank fell 26 cents at $25.56.

Rio Tinto fell 86 cents to $41.96 and BHP Billiton shed 54 cents to $15.98 after oil and copper prices fell.

Woodside Petroleum fell $1.04 to $23.94, Oil Search dropped 30 cents to $6.05, while Santos fell 20 cents to $3.55.

Nine Entertainment shares closed 36 cents lower, or 23.7 per cent, at $1.16 after the broadcaster warned that its third quarter television revenue had fallen sharply.

Bucking the broader trend were packaging giant Amcor, which closed 47 cents higher at $14.71 and building materials group James Hardie, which rose 14 cents to $18.06.

KEY FACTS:

* The benchmark S&P/ASX200 index was down 70.9 points, or 1.42 per cent, at 4,924.4 points.

* The broader All Ordinaries index fell 69.7 points, or 1.37 per cent, at 5,000.4 points.

* The June share price index futures contract was 72 points lower at 4,908 points, with 38,201 contracts traded.

* The price of gold in Sydney at 1700 AEDT was $US1,225.70 per fine ounce, up $9.40 on Monday's price of $US1,216.30.

* National turnover was 2.45 billion securities traded, worth $5.33 billion.

Market Data

  • Currencies
    Currencies
    NamePriceChange% Chg
    0.7425-0.0041-0.54%
    AUDUSD=X
    0.5124-0.0031-0.60%
    AUDGBP=X
    0.6509-0.0037-0.57%
    AUDEUR=X