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Amcor, miners drag ASX lower at close

Australian shares retreated on Tuesday as falling metals prices and a slump in Amcor after its giant US acquisition put pressure on the materials sector.

The benchmark S&P/ASX200 index closed down 19.1 points, or 0.3 per cent, at 6,253.9 points, while the All Ordinaries was down 18.2 points, or 0.29 per cent, at 6,340.8 points.

Mining stocks slipped despite a gain in iron ore futures, with worries about continuing trade tensions between the US and China hitting copper prices for a second session.

BHP shed 48 cents, or 1.4 per cent, to $33.62 while Rio Tinto dropped 62 cents, or 0.8 per cent, to $76.40.

Energy stocks fared better after a rise in oil prices on reports Saudi Arabia's crude oil production suffered an unexpected fall in July, with gains for Woodside, Santos and Oil Search.

Locally, packaging giant Amcor weighed on the Australian materials index after announcing a $US6.8 billion acquisition of US rival Bemis.

The deal expands Amcor's global footprint, particularly in the US flexible packaging market, but investors sold the stock down 89 cents, or 5.8 per cent, to $14.39 on worries the return on investment would not be equal to previous Amcor bolt-ons.

Roads giant Transurban lifted 12 cents, or one per cent, to $12.02 after announcing it had doubled full-year net profit to $485 million, helped by healthy growth in revenue as more trucks took to its toll roads.

The Australian dollar was slightly higher at 1700 AEST, climbing late in trade to 74.24 US cents, from 73.95 US cents on Monday, after being relatively unmoved by the Reserve Bank of Australia's decision to keep the official interest rate steady at 1.5 per cent for the 24th month running.


* The benchmark S&P/ASX 200 index closed down 19.1 points, or 0.3 per cent, at 6,253.9 points.

* The broader All Ordinaries index was down 18.2 points, or 0.29 per cent, at 6,340.8 points.

* The SPI200 futures contract was down six points, or 0.1 per cent, at 6,202 points at 1630 AEST.


One Australian dollar buys:

* 74.24 US cents, from 73.95 US cents on Monday

* 82.68 Japanese yen, from 82.327

* 64.11 euro cents, from 63.96

* 57.24 British pence, from 56.89

* 110.16 NZ cents, from 109.68


The spot price of gold in Sydney at 1700 AEST was $US1,212.85 per fine ounce, down from $US1,213.24 per fine ounce on Monday.

Austrlaian Associated PressBack to Breaking News

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