ASX dips slightly as oil prices drop again

The Australian share market has closed down marginally after another dip in oil prices outweighed gains by the tech and consumer discretionary sectors.

The benchmark S&P/ASX200 index finished Tuesday down 8.3 points, or 0.16 per cent, at 5,313.1 points, while the All Ordinaries index was 7.1 points lower, or 0.13 per cent, at 5,381.2 points.

"It seems we're pretty directionless," said Anthony Doyle, a Sydney-based cross-asset investment specialist with Fidelity International.

The market was up as much as 52.4 points in early morning trade before the rally fizzled, with the ASX200 dropping by 101 points by mid-afternoon before climbing back up again.

"We're right about where we started the day," he said.

The energy sector was the biggest loser, falling 1.3 per cent as Brent crude prices tumbled again, dropping nearly five per cent to just over $US19 a barrel.

Aside from a brief spell last week it's the first time the international benchmark for oil prices has traded under $US20 a barrel since 1999.

Woodside Petroleum, Santos and Beach Energy were all down between 1.8 and 1.9 per cent, while Oil Search declined by 0.8 per cent.

The banking sector dropped 0.2 per cent as NAB resumed trading down 2.8 per cent following its $3 billion institutional placement, closing at $15.32.

Elsewhere Westpac gained 1.8 per cent to $14.92 despite announcing it would take a $2.24 billion first-half impairment charge, mostly because it expects some of its loan customers won't be able to survive the coronavirus crisis.

CBA fell 0.5 per cent to $58.61 while ANZ gained 0.3 per cent to $15.70.

In addition to NAB's, capital raisings were again a theme on the day.

Lendlease was in a trading halt after seeking to raise $1.15 billion in an institutional placement and security purchase plan to strengthen its balance sheet.

Fertility company Monash IVF resumed trading following a $65 million institutional entitlement offer, with its shares falling 16.3 per cent to 55.5 cents.

Flinders Mines dropped 18.8 per cent to 2.6 cents after announcing its attempt at raising $14.5 million had only raised around 60 per cent of that.

The heavyweight mining sector fell 0.5 per cent, with BHP flat at $30.49, Rio Tinto down 1.4 per cent to $85.76 and South32 falling 2.4 per cent to $1.855.

Goldminers were mostly down, with Newcrest falling 2.3 per cent, Northern Star down 2.1 per cent and Evolution down 0.9 per cent.

Melbourne-based Talent acquisition platform Livehire soared 36.4 per cent to 30 cents after announcing it had signed a $400,000 deal with a US professional contracting group.

Nut grower Select Harvests dropped 4.1 per cent to $6.86 despite announcing 97 per cent of its orchards had been harvested, nearly all in "near perfect conditions".

The Australian dollar was trading at 64.82 US cents, up from 64.60 US cents at Monday's close.

ON THE ASX:

* The benchmark S&P/ASX200 index finished on Tuesday down 8.3 points, or 0.16 per cent, at 5,313.1 points

* The All Ordinaries closed down 7.1 points, or 0.13 per cent, at 5,381.2 points

* At 1732 AEST, the SPI200 futures index was up nine points, or 0.17 per cent, at 5,314 points

CURRENCY SNAPSHOT:

One Australian dollar buys:

* 64.82 US cents, from 64.60 US cents on Monday

* 69.40 Japanese yen, from 69.21 yen

* 59.84 euro cents, from 59.57 cents

* 52.03 British pence, from 51.94 pence

* 107.44 NZ cents, from 106.50 cents.

Austrlaian Associated PressBack to Breaking News

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