Australian shares trade lower despite US lead

The Australian share market was weaker in early trade ignoring positive leads out of the US overnight.

US markets scaled record highs following a solid report on US manufacturing activity, while European markets were flat on soft German inflation data.

At 10.35am AEST on Tuesday, the benchmark S&P/ASX200 index was down 15.3 points, or 0.28 per cent, at 5,503.2 points.

The broader All Ordinaries index was down 15.5 points, or 0.28 per cent, at 5,483.7 points.

IG chief market strategist Chris Weston said Australian shares were performing differently to global markets.

Investors were unsure whether the market was about to make a break upwards or pull back, but the release of a lot of significant Australian economic data this week might provide a catalyst, he said.


"This market looks tired and is gravitating slowly but surely higher but is it time to put money more in or is this market looking to pull back ... that's the question most people are running with?" Mr Weston told AAP.

Most sectors are losing ground with the exception of miners, which have already made losses in recent days.

Resources giant BHP Billiton was down 16 cents at $36.75, Rio Tinto was 40 cents higher at $59.63 and Fortescue Metals was flat at $4.49.

Among the major banks, National Australia Bank was 11 cents poorer at $33.77, Westpac lost 13 cents to $34.47, ANZ fell eight cents to $33.63, and Commonwealth Bank weakened 40 cents to $81.86.

The biggest losses were in health and discretionary stocks.

Jobs website Seek was 50 cents, or three per cent, lower at $16.67 and Sonic Healthcare was 27 cents or 1.5 per cent, down at $17.55.


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