Early gains evaporate to leave ASX flat

Investors were staring at gains for just about the whole trading day on the Australian market but have nothing to show for it.

The ASX200 was up by about half a per cent after the first two hours of trade, helped by record closing levels on Wall Street.

The Aussie market then slowly eased although it was not until the final minutes that the indices dropped to close little changed.

Industrials shares were the top performers and rose 0.86 per cent.

The gains were offset by a slump in financial shares, which lost 0.43 per cent.

Property shares were the worst performer and shed 0.86 per cent.

The benchmark S&P/ASX200 index closed lower by 1.4 points, or 0.02 per cent, to 7332.1 on Tuesday.

The All Ordinaries closed higher by 7.3 points, or 0.1 per cent, to 7612.2.

The ASX was one of the poorest performers across Asian markets. Most had gains of less than one per cent.

China reported exports grew much faster than expected in June, as global demand was helped by easing coronavirus lockdown measures and vaccination drives.

However trade growth may slow in the second half of 2021, a customs official warned, partly reflecting the pandemic uncertainties as the Delta variant wreaks havoc.

China last week eased conditions on bank lending to help stimulate the economy.

Investors on Monday piled into materials stocks, anticipating renewed demand will lead to a commodities boom.

The rush did not continue on Tuesday.

Materials shares, the biggest part of the market after financials, closed up only 0.16 per cent.

BHP closed lower by 0.69 per cent to $50.70. Fortescue still prospered and rose 2.11 per cent to $25.18. Rio Tinto climbed 0.6 per cent to $128.36.

Meanwhile investors will give plenty of attention to second-quarter earnings season in the US this week.

They will want clues on how long the US economic recovery from the pandemic may last.

The banks will be the first sizeable group to report.

Economic reports are also due on US inflation data and retail sales.

Federal Reserve Chair Jerome Powell is due to appear before Congress over two days and give his views on inflation.

In Australia, a federal support package has been agreed for NSW businesses hit by Sydney's coronavirus outbreak.

JobKeeper-style payments that go beyond arrangements during Victoria's most recent lockdown will be made to affected traders.

These will also apply to other states and territories struck by subsequent outbreaks.

On the ASX, one of the best performers was aerial imagery provider Nearmap.

Its shares closed better by 14.36 per cent to $2.27 after reporting strong sales in North America.

This helped group full-year sales to about $133.8 million, higher than the forecast maximum of $132 million.

Shareholders of waste management provider Bingo Industries voted for a Macquarie takeover.

The investors are reaping the rewards already and will be paid a special dividend of 0.117 cents per share.

Bingo shares were up 0.29 per cent to $3.44.

Kerry Stokes' Seven Group continues buying shares in takeover target Boral and has gained almost 45 per cent.

Shares in Seven closed up 1.28 per cent to $22.08.

Shares in Boral closed even to $7.39.

The big banks were mostly lower. NAB was the only of the big four to close better and rose 0.08 per cent to $26.24.

The Australian dollar was buying 74.90 US cents at 1729 AEST, higher from 74.71 US cents at Monday's close.

ON THE ASX

* The benchmark S&P/ASX200 index closed lower by 1.4 points, or 0.02 per cent, to 7332.1 on Tuesday.

* The All Ordinaries closed higher by 7.3 points, or 0.1 per cent, to 7612.2.

* At 1729 AEST, the SPI200 futures index was up one point, or 0.01 per cent, to 7252.

CURRENCY SNAPSHOT

One Australian dollar buys:

* 74.90 US cents, from 74.71 cents on Monday

* 82.70 Japanese yen, from 82.30 yen

* 63.16 Euro cents, from 62.93 cents

* 54.00 British pence, from 53.80 pence

* 107.18 NZ cents, from 107.10 cents.

Austrlaian Associated PressBack to Breaking News

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