The Australian share market tumbled to one-month low on Tuesday, 14 May 2019, as investors abandoned equities for safe-haven assets amid intensifying US-China trade tensions after China announced that it will retaliate against the US tariff hike by lifting tariffs on $60 billion of US imports from 1 June 2019. Most of ASX sectors declined, with financials, energy, and information technology issues being notable losers. At closing bell, the benchmark S&P/ASX200 index fell 13.26 points, or 0.21%, at 6,297.59 points, while the broader All Ordinaries dropped 11.83 points, or 0.19%, at 6,381.30.
Selling has intensified for local shares on Tuesday with the escalation of US-China trade tensions. China announced Monday that it will raise tariffs on $60 billion worth of U. S. goods, beginning on June 1.
Shares of materials sector closed into the green, boosted by Fortescue's 7.4% jump after announcement of a massive special dividend. Mining behemoth BHP Group was off 1.1% at close, however, rival Rio Tinto reversed course from early losses to end slightly higher.
Financials were the main drag on the broader market as the big four banks eased by 1% or more. Westpac was down 1.5% while National Bank dropped 5.3% as it trades ex-dividend. IOOF Holdings and Challenger Ltd closed 6% and 3.4% lower, respectively.
ECONOMIC NEWS: Australian consumer confidence fell by 2.1% last week from the prior week, according to an ANZ-Roy Morgan survey. Confidence around economic conditions dropped sharply, however, with current economic conditions down 8.1%, continuing a recent volatile pattern, and future economic conditions falling 3.3%.
CURRENCY NEWS: The Australian dollar declined against the U. S. dollar on Tuesday, as trade tensions intensify. The Australian dollar was quoted at 69.86 US cents, having been as high as 70.08 US cents during late US trade.
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