Aust shares off to sluggish start

The Australian share market has got off to a sluggish start, with shares in two of the major banks seeing a marked difference in fortunes.

The S&P/ASX200 benchmark index was higher by 9.2 points, or 0.17 per cent, at 5330.6 points after the first 15 minutes of trade on Tuesday.

The All Ordinaries index was 9.1 points higher, or 0.17 per cent, at 5397.4 points.

Westpac on Tuesday announced a $2.2 billion impairment charge, mostly from the economic impact of COVID-19, ahead of its half-year results that are due next week.

However, the news did not spook investors. Westpac shares were trading higher by 45 cents, or 3.07 per cent, at $15.11.

Shares in National Australia Bank continued to sag after its poor half-year results on Monday, which were also largely due to the coronavirus pandemic.

NAB shares were down 67 cents, or 4.25 per cent, to $15.09.

The big three miners – BHP, Fortescue and Rio – were all lower by less than 1 per cent.

One Australian dollar buys 64.54 US cents at 1015 AEST, down from 64.60 US cents at Monday’s close.

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