Aust stocks open lower

The Australian share market has opened lower, with the big banks and major mining and energy stocks down following a weak lead from Wall Street and lower prices for copper and oil.

Phillip Capital senior client adviser Michael Heffernan said there was no news to drive the local bourse upward.

"The banks are getting knocked around today - they're continuing on their very weak performance over the last year," Mr Heffernan said.

"Overseas markets weren't too bad. There's nothing really majorly negative on the scene, but there's no good news from the banks.

"You've got nothing to push the market solidly in an upward direction at the moment."

Investors are awaiting trade data for February and the Reserve Bank of Australia's decision on interest rates later on Tuesday - the RBA board is expected to keep rates on hold.

Among the major banks at 1024 AEST, National Australia Bank was down 24 cents at $25.58, Commonwealth Bank had shed 74 cents to $72.18, Westpac had surrendered 29 cents to $29.42, and ANZ had retreated 26 cents to $22.55.

In the resources sector, global miner BHP Billiton had dropped 38 cents to $16.14, Rio Tinto had descended 49 cents to $42.33, but Fortescue Metals had nudged up 0.5 cents to $2.595.

Among other stocks, broadcaster Nine Entertainment plunged 34.5 cents, or 22.7 per cent, to $1.175 after it said its full-year free-to-air advertising market would be smaller than previously anticipated.

In the retail sector, JB Hi-Fi was 23 cents lower at $22.85, and Harvey Norman was down 12 cents at $4.49.

The latest ANZ-Roy Morgan consumer confidence index fell 1.0 per cent in the week ending April 3, with levels now having edged lower for three consecutive weeks.


* At 1033 AEST, the benchmark S&P/ASX200 index was down 40.2 points, or 0.8 per cent, at 4,955.1 points.

* The broader All Ordinaries index was down 38.4 points, or 0.76 per cent, at 5,031.7 points.

* The June share price index futures contract was down 45 points at 4,935 points, with 11,419 contracts traded.

* National turnover was 413.27 million securities traded, worth $592.36 million.

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