The Australian marked closed down weaker for the sixth session in a row as the energy sector, which fell around 2%, reacted to yet lower prices for oil.

The miners were weaker, led by BHP which was down by 3.2% to $27.42 and Rio Tinto 1.28% to $52.6. Pure play iron ore company Fortescue Metals slipped 3.6% to $2.39.
The banks were also generally weaker, led by Westpac down 0.79% to $31.57.

The local market following Wall Street. The S&P 500 closed down 0.63% overnight.

First, the scoreboard:

  • S&P ASX 200: 5,152.30 -33.78 (-0.65%)
  • All Ordinaries: 5,131.00 -33.59 (-0.65%)
  • AUD/USD: 0.8226 +0.0014 (+0.17%)

And the top stories on Tuesday:

1. National Australia Bank is to sell £1.2 billion ($AU2.28 billion) of higher risk loans from its UK Commercial Real Estate portfolio to an affiliate of the private investment firm Cerberus Global Investors. NAB was the only major bank not to lose ground. It closed steady at $31.50.

2. Anti-cyclical move. Woodside Petroleum is buying out Texas-based Apache Corporation’s interests in the Australian Wheatstone natural gas project, plus the Balnaves oil and the Kitimat gas projects in Canada for a total of US$2.75 billion (AU$3.348 billion). Woodside shares were down 2.63% to $34.46.

3. Better gambling. Betfair, owned by James Packer’s casino and hotel group Crown Resorts, is forming a joint venture with corporate bookmaker BetEasy to take on sports betting. Crown shares were down 1.33% to $12.63.

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