RTTNews - The Australian market ended in negative territory on Tuesday dragged down by metal and mining stocks, but well off the day's low. Positive comments from building industries group James Hardie Industries lifted the stock sharply and limited the losses.

The benchmark S&P/ASX200 Index lost 6.80 points, or 0.15%, to close at 4,382, and the All-Ordinaries Index ended at 4,386, representing a loss of 12.20 points, or 0.28%.

On economic news, the minutes released by the Reserve Bank of Australia revealed that the board members were of the view that the cash rate had been reduced to the current low level in anticipation of weak economic outcomes. The minutes further revealed that the board members left open the possibility of further reductions in the rate if need arose. But with the recent improvements in the global and domestic outlook, the members said it appeared unlikely that further cuts would be necessary.

Light sweet crude oil price for September delivery ended at $66.96 a barrel in electronic trading, up $0.21 from its previous close $66.75 a barrel in New York on Monday.

Building products group James Hardie Industries surged up 22.32% following comments that the residential construction market in the U.S is nearing the bottom of a downturn. The company reported a net loss for the first quarter compared to profit last year, hurt by unfavorable asbestos adjustments. Excluding adjustments, the company's profit for the first quarter improved marginally.

Telecommunication company Telstra gained 1.11%.

Among metals and mining stocks, Fortescue Metals fell 3.93%, Gindalbie Metals lost 5.20%, Illuka Resources declined 3.93%, Oz Minerals shed 0.46% and Rio Tinto slipped 0.35%. BHP Billiton managed to end in positive territory with a gain of 0.35%.

In energy space, Woodside Petroleum lost 1.84%, Origin Energy fell 2.54% and Oil Search edged down 0.18%. Santos remained unchanged from previous close.

Gold stocks ended in negative territory. Lihir Gold shed 0.78%, Newcrest Mining slipped 0.30% and Sino Gold Mining lost 1.41%.

Mixed trading was witnessed among the bank stocks. While ANZ Bank advanced 0.59% and Commonwealth Bank of Australia remained unchanged from previous close, National Australia Bank slipped 0.04% and Westpac Banking shed 0.59%.

In the U.S., stocks witnessed a sharp pull-back on concerns that the health of the consumer is still weak and the market rallied despite weak fundamentals, especially persistent worries in housing and job markets. A report from the Federal Reserve Bank of New York showing that conditions for New York manufacturers improved for the first time in well over a year in the month of August partially offset the weak sentiment.

The Dow closed down by 186.06 points or 2% at 9,135, the Nasdaq fell by 54.68 points or 2.8% to 1,931 and the S&P 500 slipped by 24.36 points, or 2.4% percent to 980.

For comments and feedback: contact editorial@rttnews.com