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ASX closes flat despite energy surge

The Australian share market has closed flat, with the financial sector weighing on the market and offsetting strong gains from commodity-related stocks.

The benchmark S&P/ASX200 index was down one point, or 0.02 per cent, at 6185.9 points on Tuesday, while the broader All Ordinaries index was 0.4 points, or 0.1 per cent, lower at 6299.1 points.

With a US Federal Reserve rate rise all but certain this week, the Australian dollar slipped to 72.46 from 72.65 US cents on Monday.

This also affected the financial sector, CommSec market analyst James Tao said, as wholesale rates banks lend to each other will be more expensive if the US raises interest rates.

"That can obviously have an effect on bank margins and that's probably what's weighing a bit on the majors," he said.

Three of the big four banks closed more than one per cent lower.

National Australia Bank was best of the quartet, down 0.4 per cent, to $27.60, while ANZ suffered the biggest loss of the majors, down 1.3 per cent to $28.22.

Consumer-related stocks were also in the doldrums, with Wesfarmers, Treasury Wine, Flight Centre, and Webjet among those in the red.

But local energy shares were up 2.2 per cent with oil prices surging to a four-year high amid a global supply standoff.

Origin, Oil Search, Santos and Woodside Petroleum enjoyed gains of between 1.6 and 2.8 per cent, while Beach Energy was up nearly six per cent.

On Wall Street, the S&P 500 and the Dow closed lower on Monday after a new round of US-China trade tariffs kicked in, dampening last week's hopes for talks between the two countries, and as investors awaited a widely expected interest rate hike of 0.25 per cent by the Federal Reserve.

ON THE ASX:

* The S&P/ASX200 closed down one point, or 0.02 per cent, at 6185.9 points

* The All Ordinaries was 0.4 points, or 0.1 per cent, lower at 6299.1 points

* In futures trading the SPI200 futures index was down eight points, or 0.13 per cent, at 6180.0 points at 1630 AEST.

CURRENCY SNAPSHOT AT 1630 AEST:

One Australian dollar buys:

* 72.46 US cents, from 72.65 US cents on Friday.

* 81.81 Japanese yen, from 81.79

* 61.65 euro cents, from 61.91

* 55.25 British pence, from 55.56

* 109.07 NZ cents, from 108.98

GOLD:

The spot price of gold in Sydney at 1630 AEST was $US1199.24 per fine ounce, from $US1194.79 on Monday.

Austrlaian Associated PressBack to Breaking News

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