Australia Stocks Edge Lower After Choppy Session

By Robb M. Stewart Features Dow Jones Newswires

MELBOURNE, Australia--Australian stocks ended another choppy session modestly lower Tuesday, as gains among the major banks and miners failed to counter weakness across much of the rest of the market.

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After swinging between positive and negative territory, the S&P/ASX 200 finished down just 6 points, or 0.1%, at 5714.

It was the third straight session the index moved by less than 10 points, as investors near the end of the Australian financial year.

Outside of the financial and materials sectors, other subindexes were in the red led by losses in utilities and consumer shares.

Commonwealth Bank of Australia and Australia & New Zealand Banking both rose for a second day running, recovering from another bout of selling last week after South Australia's state government proposed a tax that would piggyback on a new federal levy on the biggest banks' liabilities that has raised concerns other state governments could follow. The pair gained 0.7% and 1%, respectively, while Westpac Banking and National Australia Bank were little changed but Macquarie dropped 1%.

Among the miners, BHP Billiton inched higher while Rio Tinto rose 0.5% and Fortescue Metals Group climbed 3.8%. Iron-ore prices have stabilized in recent sessions, and Chinese futures were modestly higher Tuesday.

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Although oil prices ticked higher in Asian trading, the big oil and gas companies edged lower, with Woodside Petroleum slipping 0.2% and Oil Search and Santos each down 0.3%.

Blackmores dropped by 4.4% after the vitamins producer said Chief Executive and Managing Director Christine Holgate was stepping down after nine years at the helm, to take over running Australia Post.

Write to Robb M. Stewart at robb.stewart@wsj.com

(END) Dow Jones Newswires

June 27, 2017 03:05 ET (07:05 GMT)