Financials weigh down Aust shares at open

Tuesday, 4 September, 2018 - 09:11

Australian shares are down at the open, with the financial sector weighing heavily on the market ahead of the Reserve Bank of Australia's cash rate decision.

The benchmark S&P/ASX200 index was down 20.4 points, or 0.32 per cent, at 6,290.5 points at 1030 AEST on Tuesday, and the broader All Ordinaries was down 18 points, or 0.28 per cent, to 6,398.5.

With no overnight lead from Wall Street due to the Labor Day holiday in the US, shares in materials, healthcare and telcos gained slightly at the open, but other sectors - particularly the heavyweight financials - were down.

The big four banks were all down, with Westpac's 1.3 per cent fall to $28.17 the most significant, followed by ANZ with a 1.03 per cent drop.

NAB was down 0.99 per cent and Commonwealth Bank was down 0.65 per cent at $70.75.

Suncorp shares were down 0.32 per cent despite saying it would return approximately $600 million to shareholders following the $750 million sale of its local life insurance business to Japan's Dai-ichi Life Group.

Telstra rose 0.99 to $3.05 to help lift the telecommunications sector by an overall 1.31 per cent.

Rio Tinto was down 0.79 per cent at $71.20, while BHP was down a single cent at $33.00 amid a 0.44 per cent slide in iron ore prices.

Elsewhere, slumped as much as 10 per cent in early trade after co-founders Ruslan Kogan and David Shafer offloaded $40 million of shares in the online retailer.