Weakness in banks, industry cause drag

The sharemarket closed about half a per cent lower, dragged down by weakness among the banks and industrial stocks.

The sharemarket closed about half a per cent lower, dragged down by weakness among the banks and industrial stocks.

At the close on Tuesday, the benchmark S&P/ASX 200 Index was down 28.9 points, or 0.55 per cent, at 5180.1. The All Ordinaries fell 29.2 points, or 0.56 per cent, to 5156.2.

CMC Markets trader Ben Taylor said the market finished in negative territory after weak global leads. He said markets were anticipating that US Federal Reserve chairman Ben Bernanke would announce more quantitative easing in his speech to Congress on Wednesday.

"US equity markets eased from their record highs overnight, following falls on the dollar index as expectations that Bernanke will continue his QE mantra," he said. "Asian markets have followed suit, with selling pressure dominating in our banks and industrial sectors."

Despite strong support for commodity prices overnight, local miners had a mixed day. BHP Billiton gained 4¢ to $34.83 but Rio Tinto fell 12¢ to $55.30 and Fortescue lost 1¢ to $3.51.

Gold benefited from a weaker US dollar overnight, causing a resurgence for Newcrest Mining, which lifted $1.04 to $15.60.

Among the four big banks, ANZ dipped 59¢ to $29.64, Commonwealth Bank dropped $1.01 to $72.48, Westpac fell 31¢ to $31.48 and NAB lost 28¢ to $33.09.

The market moved higher after the Reserve Bank released the minutes of its May 7 board meeting where it cut the cash rate to a record low at 2.75 per cent.

In its minutes, the RBA forecast below-average economic growth for the remainder of 2013.

Seven West Media shares tumbled 8¢ to $2.28 as incoming boss Tim Worner pledged to focus on producing quality content while cutting costs.

Boart Longyear shares fell 0.5¢ to 78¢ after the mining services driller predicted earnings would fall in 2013 because resource companies were reducing exploration.

The dollar also benefited from the weaker greenback, rising from $US97.56¢ to $US98.17¢.

Nomura head of fixed income Jon Linton was looking forward to the release of Australian capital expenditure figures next week.

"The capex figures will be the key, because they will give us the clearest indication of what the Reserve Bank will do in terms of monetary policy," Mr Linton said.