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Australian Market Notably Lower Ahead Of RBA Decision

The Australian stock market is notably lower on Tuesday following the negative cues overnight from Wall Street on disappointing U.S. economic data and as President Donald Trump announced plans to reinstate tariffs on metal imports from Brazil and Argentina. Investors are also cautious ahead of the Reserve Bank of Australia's monetary policy decision due later today.

The benchmark S&P/ASX 200 Index is losing 132.30 points or 1.93 percent to 6,730.00, while the broader All Ordinaries Index is lower by 129.50 points or 1.86 percent to 6,835.80. Australian stocks closed modestly lower on Friday.

The major miners are notably lower. Fortescue Metals is losing 2 percent, while BHP and Rio Tinto are declining almost 2 percent each.

Among gold miners, Newcrest Mining is lower by almost 4 percent and Evolution Mining is lower by almost 2 percent.

The big four banks are also weak. Commonwealth Bank, Westpac, ANZ Banking and National Australia Bank are declining in a range of 1.1 percent to 1.4 percent.

Oil stocks are declining even as crude oil prices rose overnight. Oil Search is losing more than 2 percent, Woodside Petroleum is lower by more than 1 percent and Santos is down 0.4 percent.

Santos has raised its 2025 production outlook to 120 million barrels of oil equivalent from 100 mmboe earlier.

Caltex Australia said that an A$8.6 billion unsolicited takeover bid it received from Canadian convenience store operator Alimentation Couchce-Tard undervalues the company. The fuel importer and retailer's shares are lower by almost 1 percent.

Metcash said it will record a A$237.4 million write-down against its major food division, just days after it disclosed that 7-Eleven would not be renewing its supply contract when it expires in August. The food and beverage wholesaler's shares are declining more than 2 percent.

Treasury Wine Estates said it has appointed the former chief financial officer of Aristocrat Leisure, Toni Korsanos, as an independent non-executive director. However, the company's shares are losing almost 4 percent.

In economic news, the Reserve Bank of Australia will wrap up its monetary policy meeting and then announce its decision on interest rates today. The central bank is widely expected to keep its benchmark lending rate unchanged at the record low 0.75 percent.

Australia also will see third-quarter figures for its current account today.

In the currency market, the Australian dollar is slightly higher against the U.S. dollar on Tuesday. The local currency was quoted at $0.6817, up from $0.6775 on Monday.

On Wall Street, stocks closed lower on Monday as disappointing U.S. economic news offset earlier positive sentiment generated by some upbeat Chinese manufacturing data. A report from the Institute for Supply Management showed a continued contraction in U.S. manufacturing activity in the month of November, while a separate report released by the Commerce Department showed an unexpected decrease in U.S. construction spending in the month of October. Traders were also reacting to President Donald Trump announcing plans to reinstate tariffs on metal imports from Brazil and Argentina.

The Dow ended the day just off its lows of the session, down 268.37 points or 1 percent at 27,783.04, while the Nasdaq tumbled 97.48 points or 1.1 percent to 8,567.99 and the S&P 500 slumped 27.11 points or 0.9 percent to 3,113.87.

The major European markets moved sharply lower on Monday. While the U.K.'s FTSE 100 Index slid by 0.8 percent, the French CAC 40 Index and the German DAX Index tumbled by 2 percent and 2.1 percent, respectively.

Crude oil prices regained some ground on Monday amid reports Saudi Arabia wants OPEC to deepen oil production cuts in order to anchor oil prices before Saudi Aramco's initial public offering. WTI crude oil for February delivery climbed $0.79 or 1.4 percent to $55.96 a barrel.

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