The local share market is slightly lower mid-session, with no clear direction for investors after US markets were closed overnight for the Labor Day holiday. Base metals prices however rallied in London trade as weak Chinese and European manufacturing data prompted hopes that central banks across the globe will take action to boost economic growth. At lunchtime in the East, the All Ordinaries Index (XAO) is down 16.1pts or 0.4pct to 4355.5.
The main indicator of the Australian Securities Exchange (bottom R) is seen in red shortly after the local market opened in Central Sydney October 4, 2011. Australian stocks eased 0.6 percent on Tuesday, pressured by falls in global equities markets in a fresh flight from riskier assets, but losses were limited after steep declines on Monday. REUTERS/Daniel Munoz (AUSTRALIA - Tags: BUSINESS)
Iron ore miner Fortescue Metals Group (FMG) has today lowered its guidance, and deferred some exploration projects in a bid to combat the volatile iron ore market. Iron ore prices have fallen by around 20pct over the last few months, and fell a further 0.3pct overnight to close below US$90 a metric tonne. FMG shares started the day on a positive note but are currently down 1.7pct to $3.50. Index leader BHP Billiton (BHP) shares are firmer by 1pct to $31.71 while Rio Tinto (RIO) is up 1.8pct to $50.76.
Financial stocks are generally weaker. Shares in the ANZ (ANZ) are down 1.8pct to $24.37 while Westpac (WBC) shares are lower by 1.7pct to $24.43.
Shares in Virgin Australia (VAH) are clawing back some of yesterday's lost ground. At lunchtime, VAH is firmer by 4.1pct to $0.4425.
The Australian dollar remains subdued against the greenback ahead of this afternoon's interest rate decision by the Reserve Bank of Australia. It is widely tipped the RBA will leave the official cash rate on hold at 3.5pct. The Australian dollar is currently buying US102.4c, £0.6642 and €81.15c.
676 shares have so far changed hands, with a market value of $1.6 Billion.
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