Australian Market Modestly Higher Ahead Of RBA Decision

(RTTNews) - The Australian stock market is modestly higher on Tuesday despite the mixed cues overnight from Wall Street. Gains by mining stocks were offset by weakness in oil and tech stocks.

Banks are mixed ahead of the Reserve Bank of Australia's monetary policy decision due later in the day. The RBA is expected to trim its benchmark lending rate by 25 basis points to 1.25 percent from 1.50 percent.

The benchmark S&P/ASX 200 Index is adding 11.30 points or 0.18 percent to 6,331.80, after touching a high of 6,336.20 earlier. The broader All Ordinaries Index is up 7.50 points or 0.12 percent to 6,418.30. Australian stocks recorded their worst loss in five months on Monday.

The major miners are higher. Rio Tinto and BHP Group are rising more than 2 percent each, while Fortescue Metals is advancing more than 1 percent.

Gold miners are extending gains after gold prices rose for the fourth straight session overnight. Evolution Mining is advancing almost 2 percent and Newcrest Mining is adding almost 1 percent.

The big four banks are mixed ahead of the RBA decision. ANZ Banking is rising 0.5 percent and Westpac is up 0.1 percent, while National Australia Bank and Commonwealth Bank are edging down 0.1 percent each.

Oil stocks are mostly lower after crude oil prices extended losses to a fourth straight session. Santos is advancing 1 percent, while Oil Search is lower by 0.2 percent and Woodside Petroleum is edging down 0.1 percent.

Tech stocks followed their U.S. counterparts lower. Altium is declining more than 2 percent, Afterpay Touch Group is losing almost 2 percent and WiseTech Global is down more than 1 percent.

Coca-Cola Amatil said it will sell its Victoria-based SPC fruit and vegetable processing business to the Shepparton Partners Collective for A$40 million. The company's shares are advancing almost 1 percent.

Mirvac Group's shares are adding almost 1 percent after the property group said it has agreed to pay A$33.5 million for 40 rental apartments to be built opposite Melbourne's Queen Victoria Market.

Incitec Pivot has signed agreements to continue manufacturing operations at its Gibson Island facility in Queensland up to 2022. The fertilizer producer's shares are adding 0.2 percent.

In economic news, Australia will also see April figures for retail sales and first-quarter numbers for current account today.

In the currency market, the Australian dollar is higher against the U.S dollar on Tuesday. The local currency was quoted at $0.6970, compared to $0.6914 on Monday.

On Wall Street, technology stocks moved sharply lower on Monday following reports of antitrust investigations involving several big-name companies, leading to a steep drop by the tech-heavy Nasdaq. Trade concerns also continued to weigh on the markets after an official document from the Chinese government blamed the U.S. for the escalating trade dispute between the world's two largest economies.

The Nasdaq plunged 120.13 points or 1.6 percent to 7,333.02, ending the session at its lowest closing level in nearly four months. The S&P 500 also fell 7.61 points or 0.3 percent to 2,744.45, while the Dow inched up 4.74 points or less than a tenth of a percent to 24,819.78.

The major European markets turned positive on Monday after seeing early weakness. While the U.K.'s FTSE 100 Index rose by 0.3 percent, the German DAX Index and the French CAC 40 Index advanced by 0.6 percent and 0.7 percent, respectively.

Crude oil futures ended lower on Monday, extending losses to a fourth straight session amid continued worries about energy demand due to fears of global economic slowdown. WTI crude oil futures for July ended down $0.25 or 0.5 percent at $53.25 a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange.

The views and opinions expressed herein are the views and opinions of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Nasdaq, Inc.