Despite a positive lead from the index futures, Australia's S&P/ASX 200 barreled lower in early Tuesday trade, down 0.9% about 50 minutes into the session as banks reversed their earlier gains. Some reports suggested bank investors were taking some money off the table ahead of a central-bank decision due later in the day. The Reserve Bank of Australia was expected to pause after cutting rates at its previous meeting, but it could alter the language of its policy statement to indicate further easing ahead. Among the major financials, Commonwealth Bank of Australia and Westpac Banking Corp. were down 1.1% each, National Australia Bank Ltd. was down 1.2%, and Insurance Australia Group Ltd. was down 1.3%. The energy sector was also a weak spot, tracking a solid loss for Brent crude-oil futures overnight, with Oil Search Ltd. down 2.2%, WorleyParsons Ltd. down 2.4%, and Beach Energy Ltd. down 0.9%. The miners were mixed, with BHP Billiton Ltd. losing 1.9% as a Financial Times report highlighted the stock's removal from Deutsche Bank's buy list due to concerns about the company's oil reserves. Rio Tinto Ltd. likewise lost 1%, but on the upside, Fortescue Metals Group Ltd. added 0.4%, Arrium Ltd. rose 2.9%, and Oz Minerals Ltd. gained 1.3%. Among other notable movers, building-materials maker CSR Ltd. dropped 3.7% as its shares traded without rights to the latest dividend.
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