Australian Market Modestly Lower

The Australian stock market slightly lower on Tuesday, giving up some of the gains in the previous session, with the benchmark S&P/ASX 200 staying above the 7,300 level, following the broadly negative cues from Wall Street overnight, led by weakness in resources and energy stocks amid a dip in commodity prices. Technology stocks also fell, even as traders braced for the Reserve Bank of Australia's policy decision later in the day

The RBA is widely expected to deliver another modest 25 basis point rate hike as domestic inflation trended lower.

The benchmark S&P/ASX 200 Index is losing 12.70 points or 0.17 percent to 7,312.90, after hitting a low of 7,282.00 earlier. The broader All Ordinaries Index is down 19.20 points or 0.26 percent to 7,508.60. Australian stocks closed modestly higher on Monday.

Among the major miners, BHP Group and OZ Minerals are edging down 0.2 percent each, while Mineral Resources is losing almost 3 percent and Fortescue Metals is down more than 1 percent. Rio Tinto is edging up 0.1 percent.

Oil stocks are mostly lower. Beach energy is losing 4.5 percent and Santos is down more than 1 percent, while Woodside Energy and Origin Energy are edging down 0.4 to 0.5 percent each.

Among tech stocks, Afterpay owner Block is losing more than 5 percent, Xero is slipping more than 3 percent and WiseTech Global are down almost 2 percent, while Zip and Appen are declining almost 3 percenteach.

Gold miners are mostly lower. Northern Star Resources, Gold Road Resources and Newcrest Mining are losing almost 3 percent each, while Resolute Mining is declining almost 4 percent and Evolution Mining is down more than 1 percent.

Among the big four banks, Commonwealth Bank and Westpac are gaining almost 1 percent each, while National Australia Bank and ANZ Banking are edging up 0.1 to 0.5 percent each.

In economic news, the Reserve Bank of Australia will wrap up its monetary policy meeting on Tuesday and then announce its decision on interest rates. The RBA is widely expected to hike its benchmark lending rate by 25 basis points, from 2.85 percent to 3.10 percent.

In the currency market, the Aussie dollar is trading at $0.671 on Tuesday.

On Wall Street, stocks moved sharply lower over the course of the session on Monday after ending last Friday's trading narrowly mixed. The major averages came under pressure in early trading and saw further downside as the day progressed.

The major averages climbed off their worst levels going into the close but remained firmly negative. The Dow slumped 482.78 points or 1.4 percent to 33,947.10, the Nasdaq dove 221.56 points or 1.9 percent to 11,239.94 and the S&P 500 tumbled 72.86 points or 1.8 percent to 3,998.84.

Meanwhile, the major European markets turned in a mixed performance on the day. While the U.K.'s FTSE 100 Index crept up by 0.2 percent, the German DAX Index fell by 0.6 percent and the French CAC 40 Index slid by 0.7 percent.

Crude oil prices fell on Monday as strong U.S. service data raised the prospects for more aggressive moves by the Federal Reserve. West Texas Intermediate Crude futures for January ended lower by $3.05 or 3.8 percent at $76.93 a barrel.

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