Australian stocks sagged in early Tuesday trading, as weakness in the heavily weighted financial shares helped drag the S&P/ASX 200 down 0.3% to 5,964, failing to surpass the 6,000 level last breached in 2008. Westpac Banking Corp. lost 0.6%, Macquarie Group Ltd. fell 0.8%, and Suncorp Group Ltd. retreated by 0.9%, with a speech by Reserve Bank of Australia Gov. Glenn Stevens offering little in the way of clues as to whether the central bank would cut interest rates at its May meeting. And while iron-ore spot prices rallied by about 3% overnight, the relevent miners failed to profit from the move, with Arrium Ltd. down 1.7%, BC Iron Ltd. down 2.8%, and Rio Tinto Ltd. down 0.7%, though BHP Billiton Ltd. and Fortescue Metals Group Ltd. gained 0.4% each. Meanwhile, losses for crude-oil and natural-gas futures helped send Karoon Gas Australia Ltd. down 1.2%, Beach Energy Ltd. down 2.9%, WorleyParsons Ltd. down 3%, and Santos Ltd. down 0.7%, though Woodside Petroleum Ltd. rose 0.2%.
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