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The Australian share market finished lower on Tuesday, led by losses in the health care and consumer discretionary sectors.

The benchmark S&P/ASX200 index finished Tuesday down 21.8 points, or 0.33 per cent, to 6,568.5 points, while the broader All Ordinaries was down 22 points, or 0.33 per cent, to 6,648.1 points.

The loss was the ASX's first in five days.

Markets in the US, Europe and Asia were also all lower.

The usual safe-haven of gold moved higher, hitting a six-year high of $US1,523 an ounce, or an all-time high of $2,254 an ounce in Aussie dollar terms.

Gold miners Northern Star, Evolution and St Barbara were all up between and 1.6 and 2.1 per cent.

Iron ore futures were up 0.5 per cent, sending the fourth largest producer in the world, Fortescue Metals, up 3.6 per cent to $7.22.

Diversified mining giant BHP was flat at $37.01 and Rio Tinto gained 0.6 per cent to $85.80.

Lithium miner Orocobre was the worst performer among the ASX200, down 6.4 per cent on top of Monday's 6.6 per cent drop, likely attributed to concerns about a global oversupply of lithium.

In the health care sector, heavyweight CSL lost 1.5 per cent to $219.50 ahead of its earnings results, while Cochlear dropped 3.7 per cent to $203.37.

Consumer discretionary stocks were down after NAB's monthly business confidence survey found recession-like levels in the retail sector had persisted from June into July.

Kmart and Target owner Wesfarmers was down 1.2 per cent to $38.66.

In the energy sector, Woodside Petroleum, Santos and Oil Search were down between 0.6 and one per cent as the price of Brent crude dropped nearly half a per cent to $US58.

The big four banks were all down, with Commonwealth Bank falling 0.6 per cent to $79.46, Westpac down 0.3 per cent to $28.34, NAB down 0.3 per cent to $27.66 and ANZ down 0.6 per cent to $27.01.

Magellan Financial Group shares were in a trading halt at $60 after announcing it would raise $275 million to launch a new ASX-listed investment trust.

Investment manager Challenger Limited was up 2.5 per cent to $6.66 after its 4.6 per cent drop in profit beat analysts' expectations.

Looking forward, Australian wage growth will be reported on Wednesday, while CSL, Computershare, Vicinity Centres and Here There & Everywhere are among the companies that will report earnings.

International Markets

US stocks have closed higher after an announced delay of planned tariffs on some Chinese imports brought buyers back to the equities market in a broad-based rally.

Tech stocks, headed up by Apple, led all three major US indexes into the black following the announcement, which calmed fears over the US-China trade war and growing signs of imminent recession.

Apple, a likely beneficiary of the tariff delay, rose 4.2 per cent on Nasdaq on Tuesday, while the Philadelphia SE Semiconductor Index gained 3 per cent.

In economic news, US consumer prices accelerated in July, with core CPI, which strips out volatile food and energy prices, growing at 2.2 per cent year-on-year, its largest gain in six months and well above the US Federal Reserve's two per cent target.

The healthy inflation reading is unlikely to change market expectations for another interest rate cut from the Fed next month as it grapples with the US-China trade war and its economic fallout.

The spread between two-year and 10-year US Treasuries hit its flattest level in 12 years, reflecting anxieties over trade and geopolitical turmoil. But yields rose across the board on news of the tariff delay.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average rose 372.54 points, or 1.44 per cent, to 26,279.91, the S&P 500 gained 42.48 points, or 1.47 per cent, to 2926.23 and the Nasdaq Composite added 152.95 points, or 1.95 per cent, to 8016.36.

All of the 11 major sectors in the S&P 500 closed in the black, with technology and consumer discretionary seeing the biggest percentage gains.

Toys and footwear were among the Chinese goods temporarily spared from additional tariffs.

Nike rose 2 per cent, while toymakers Hasbro and Mattel advanced 2.7 per cent and 4.6 per cent, respectively.

Facebook pared gains following a Bloomberg report that the social media company had hired outside contractors to transcribe user audio clips, ending up 1.7 per cent.

Shares of CBS and Viacom gained 1.4 per cent and 2.4 per cent respectively after sources told Reuters the companies had reached an agreement in principle regarding their impending merger.

The second-quarter earnings season has reached the final stretch, with 453 of the companies in the S&P 500 having posted results.

Of those, 73.3 per cent beat consensus estimates, according to Refinitiv data.

Source: Morningstar

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