Australia Markets closed

Aust shares lower as banks, miners drag

The Australian share market has opened lower as cautious investors stay on the sidelines, taking cues from tepid trading overnight on Wall Street.

The benchmark S&P/ASX200 index was down 0.3 per cent after the first half hour of trade, with financials and some retail-focused stocks the main drag.

"Without any further positive catalyst, traders both here and on Wall Street, are using the opportunity to book some profits," Australian Stock Report's head of research Chris Conway said.

"People are moving to the sidelines to wait for the next opportunity.

"The only way the market could turn positive is if someone lights a fire under the banks and I don's see that happening today."

Earlier, US stocks dipped over worries that US President Trump's plan to cut taxes and boost the economy could take longer than previously expected.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average closed down 0.04 per cent, while the S&P 500 ended 0.20 per cent lower.

Locally, all four major banks were trading in the red, and were joined by mining majors BHP Billiton and Rio Tinto.

Energy shares including Woodside and Oil Search were down around one per cent, while supermarket majors Woolworths and Wesfarmers were also down nearly a per cent each.

China-focused exporters jumped after Beijing announced it has delayed indefinitely tough new-cross border e-commerce laws that have disrupted the flow of Australian goods to the mainland.

Shares in nutritional supplements maker Blackmores were up 11 per cent to $111.60, infant formula supplier Bellamy's surged 8 per cent to $4.13, while A2Milk was up 3.3 per cent to $2.54.

Adventure equipment retailer Kathmandu was up 0.3 per cent after boosted first-half profit by 6.4 per cent, while Solomon Lew's retail group Premier Investments was also up 0.5 per cent after posting a slight rise in first-half net profit to $71.9 million.

Meanwhile, the Australian dollar is steady at 77.27 US cents, up fractionally from 77.24 US cents at Monday's close, as investors await the release of the Reserve Bank of Australia's March meeting minutes.


* At 1036 AEDT, the benchmark S&P/ASX200 was down 18.3 points, or 0.3 per cent to 5,760.6 points.

* The broader All Ordinaries index was down 14.6 points, or 0.25 per cent to 5,805.9 points.

* The June SPI200 futures contract was down seven points, or 0.12 per cent, at 5,758 points.

* National turnover was 899 million securities traded worth $1.2 billion.


* The Australian dollar was trading at 77.27 US cents at 1036 AEDT, up from 77.24 US cents on Monday.

(*Currency closes taken at 1700 AEDT previous local session, bond market closes taken at 1630 AEDT previous local session)