Headline indices of the Australian share market were lower on Tuesday, 04 December 2018, despite the positive cues overnight from Wall Street, as investors cashed in profit after stellar rally previous day, after the surge of optimism from the G20 summit and temporary truce between the US and China eased. Most of ASX sectors declined, with energy, mining and banking stocks being notable losers. In late afternoon trades, the benchmark S&P/ASX200 index dropped 54.76 points, or 1%, to 5,716.40 points, while the broader All Ordinaries index fell 55.66 points, or 0.95%, to 5,800.60 points.
Shares of energy players declined, despite an overnight jump in oil prices. Santos fell 2.6% as investors cashed in on Monday's gains, while Woodside, Origin and Oil Search were all more than 1% lower.
Shares of materials and resources were lower, with South32 and BlueScope down 2.3 and 3.2% respectively, while major miner Rio Tinto was down 0.5%. BHP bucked the trend, however, and gained almost 1% and Fortescue Metals rose 0.2%.
Shares of banks and financial stocks were mostly lower after the RBA has kept the official cash rate on hold for its final meeting of 2018, extending Australia's longest ever period without a change to 28 months, with ANZ Banking, Westpac and National Australia Bank down in a range of 0.1% to 0.5%, while Commonwealth Bank was up 0.1%.
Among individual stocks, Metcash's shares fell more than 8%, extending sharp losses from the previous session after the company said it sees more tough times ahead in the supermarket sector.
Austal (ASB) was up 1% after the shipbuilder signs a A$97.7 million contract with the Government of Trinidad & Tobago to build a 94 metre high speed ferry. The vessel will be built at its new shipyard in Vietnam (opened last month).
ECONOMIC NEWS: The Reserve Bank has kept the official cash rate on hold for its final meeting of 2018, extending Australia's longest ever period without a change to 28 months. The RBA last cut the cash rate to its record low of 1.5% in August 2016, following an earlier cut to 1.75% in May. There has not been an official cash rate increase since November 2010.
CURRENCY: Australian Dollar, seen as a proxy for China-related trades, was down against greenback on Tuesday. The Australian dollar was quoted at $0.7358, down from $0.7365 on Monday.
OFFSHORE MARKET NEWS: US stock market closed higher on Monday, reflecting a positive reaction to the highly anticipated meeting between President Donald Trump and Chinese President Xi Jinping over the weekend. In a much-anticipated meeting between Donald Trump and Xi Jinping at the weekend, the heads of the world's two biggest economies hammered out a deal that will see them hold off on their tit-for-tat tariffs row, which has roiled global equities for most of the year. The leaders called a cease-fire in their trade dispute, to last for at least 90 days, to allow time to smooth out disagreements over Chinese technology policies that the U.S. and other trading partners consider predatory. Trump will hold off on plans to raise tariffs on $200 billion in Chinese goods, which were supposed to kick in on Jan. 1. In return, Xi agreed to buy a very substantial amount of agricultural, energy and industrial products from the U.S. to reduce its large trade deficit with China. The Dow surged up 287.97 points or 1.1% to 25,826.43, the Nasdaq soared 110.98 points or 1.5% to 7,441.51 and the S&P 500 shot up 30.20 points or 1.1% to 2,790.37.
The major European markets also showed strong moves to the upside on Monday. The German DAX Index shot up by 1.9%. The U.K.'s FTSE 100 Index and the French CAC 40 Index advanced by 1.2% and 1%, respectively.