Aust stocks close lower

The Australian share market has closed in red territory, dragged lower by retail giants Wesfarmers and Woolworths as well as banking stocks.

Investors dumped shares as part of the end of the month portfolio reshuffling, Macquarie Private Wealth division director Lucinda Chan said on Tuesday.

Plus, there was little direction from international markets as the US and the UK were closed due to public holidays, Ms Chan said.

"You may see a bit of action offshore overnight that probably will move the market on Wednesday," she said.

More importantly, investors are keenly awaiting China's manufacturing data on Wednesday and US unemployment data on Friday, Ms Chan said.

Wesfarmers, which runs Coles supermarkets and budget department store Target, dropped 87 cents to $40.63, while Woolworths fell 27 cents to $22.12.

Among the big banking stocks, the Commonwealth Bank led the falls, down 75 cents to $77.43.

ANZ dropped 21 cents to $25.48, Westpac fell 18 cents to $30.70 and National Australia Bank slipped 10 cents to $27.15.

Energy companies also lost ground as crude oil fell below the $US50 a barrel level ahead of the OPEC meeting later this week.

Woodside Petroleum dropped 67 cents to $27.40, Oil Search fell nine cents to $6.79 and Origin Energy lost seven cents to $5.71.

Mining giants BHP Billiton and Rio Tinto fell 16 cents to $19.08 and eight cents to $44.69, respectively.


* At 1625 AEST, the benchmark S&P/ASX 200 index was down 29.4 points, or 0.54 per cent, at 5,378.6 points.

* The broader All Ordinaries index was down 25.8 points, or 0.47 per cent, at 5,447.8 points.

* The June share price index futures contract was down 30 points at 5,382 points, with 25,859 contracts traded.

* The spot price of gold in Sydney at 1700 AEST was $US1,212.51 per fine ounce, up $US7.80 from $US1,204.70 on Monday.

* National turnover was 3.65 billion securities traded, worth $7.3 billion.

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