The Australia share market closed higher for fifth straight session on Tuesday, 17 September 2019, after recouping early losses, following the release of a generally dovish set of RBA Board minutes. However, market gains were limited amid heightened tensions in the Middle East and ahead of the US Federal Reserve's policy meeting this week. At closing bell, the benchmark S&P/ASX200 index advanced 8.12 points, or 0.12%, to 6,681.60, while the broader All Ordinaries rose 7.29 points, or 0.11%, to 6,789.30.
The Reserve Bank of Australia (RBA) published the minutes of its September 3rd, 2019 monetary policy meeting on Tuesday. At the meeting, the bank left its key interest rate unchanged at a record low of 1% for the second straight meeting as policymakers await to see the impact of earlier rate cuts.
The Reserve Bank of Australia board said it would cut rates again 'if needed' to support growth, inflation targets. This Thursday's monthly employment report will receive plenty of attention and could spark the conversation around a potential rate cut in October.
There is a wait-and-see type of sentiment in the market at the moment as there is a lot of uncertainty associated with all the international activity, such as in the Middle East following weekend attacks on Saudi Arabia which shut 5% of the world's oil supply.
Iran has rejected US accusations that it was behind attacks on the Saudi oil plants that risk disrupting world energy supplies and has threatened to retaliate on US bases.
Markets await the US Federal Reserve policy decision on Wednesday, where a rate cut is widely expected, but look forward to a further policy outlook considering recent developments in global issues.
Energy stocks continued another day of gains, buoyed by spike in crude oil prices nearly 15% on Monday, after an attack on Saudi Arabian crude facilities cut the kingdom's production in half and fanned fears of retaliation in the Middle East. Oil and Gas major Woodside Petroleum were lower in a range of 1% to 2%.
Shares of materials and resources declined on the back of lower iron ore prices. Industry heavyweight BHP Group's and Rio Tinto's were lower in a range of 1% to 2%.
The big four banks were modestly lower. ANZ Banking, National Australia Bank, Commonwealth Bank and Westpac were lower in a range of 0.1% to 0.3%.
Ramsay Health Care (RHC) was down almost 5% on news its biggest shareholder, the Paul Ramsay Foundation, is selling a A$1.36 billion stake or 10% of the company at a discount. That will leave the group with a still significant 21% stake in the private hospital operator.
CURRENCY NEWS: The Australian dollar little changed against greenback on Tuesday. The Australian dollar, sensitive to shifts in broader risk appetite, changed hands at $0.6864, compared to $0.6873 on Monday.
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