By Kylie Williams
SYDNEY, May 21 AAP - The Australian market has closed around half a per cent lower, dragged down by weakness among the banks and industrial stocks.
CMC Markets trader Ben Taylor said the local market finished in negative territory, following weak global leads.
He said markets were anticipating that US Federal Reserve chairman Ben Bernanke would announce more quantitative easing (QE) 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 Fed chairman Ben 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 mining giants had a mixed day.
BHP Billiton gained four cents to $34.83 but Rio Tinto fell 12 cents to $55.30 and Fortescue lost one cent to $3.51.
The gold price benefited from a weaker US dollar overnight causing a resurgence for Newcrest Mining, which lifted $1.04 to $15.60.
Among the four major banks, ANZ plummeted 59 cents to $29.64, Commonwealth Bank dived $1.01 to $72.48, Westpac fell 31 cents to $31.48 and National Australia Bank lost 28 cents to $33.09.
The market moved higher after the Reserve Bank of Australia 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 eight cents to $2.28 after the media company's incoming boss Tim Worner pledged to focus on producing quality content while cutting costs.
Boart Longyear shares fell 0.5 cents to 78 cents after the mining services driller predicted its earnings would fall in 2013 because resources companies were scaling back on exploration.
* At the close on Tuesday, the benchmark S&P/ASX200 index was down 28.9 points, or 0.55 per cent, at 5,180.1 points.
* The broader All Ordinaries index was 29.2 points, or 0.56 per cent, weaker at 5,156.2.
* On ASX 24, the June share price index futures contract was 35 points lower at 5,185 with 23,334 contracts traded.
*The price of gold in Sydney closed at $US1,394.15 per fine ounce, up $US48.08 from $US1,346.07 on Monday.
* National turnover was 1.57 billion securities worth $4.39 billion.
AAP and its licensors reserve all rights including copyright in the Information (including the information made available under licence from the Australian Stock Exchange Ltd) provided by it. The information in the service is for personal use only and may not be copied, re-sold or re-distributed, framed, linked or otherwise used whether for compensation of any kind or not without the prior written permission of AAP.
This service is published for information only without assuming a duty of care. AAP is not in the business of providing professional advice, and gives no warranty, guarantee or other representation about the accuracy of the information contained in this service. AAP is not liable for errors, omissions in, delays or interruptions to or cessation of the services through negligence or otherwise. The globe symbol and "AAP" are registered trade marks.