Aust shares open lower

AAP

The share market has opened weaker following mixed leads overnight from overseas markets.

China's best manufacturing activity data in six months helped spark gains in Australia on Monday and in base metals, but US stocks were flat while European markets fell and Asian stocks were mixed.

IG market strategist Stan Shamu said he also thought Australian investors had noted with interest that China's markets had fallen on Monday despite the positive manufacturing data.

"I think there is a lot of window dressing at play as well with it being the last week of the financial year," he told AAP.

Window dressing is a strategy in which a fund manager improves the appearance of a portfolio through buying high flying stocks before the end of a quarter or year.

Making news, South African retailer Woolworths is making a $213 million takeover bid to buy the 12 per cent of Australian clothing chain Country Road it does not own.

The move would involve buying businessman Solomon Lew's stake at a premium so he would clear the way for Woolworths to then buy retailer David Jones.

David Jones were 16.5 cents, or 4.4 per cent, up at $3.955.

Health care stocks were making the biggest losses.

Blood plasma products maker CSL was 66 cents, or one per cent, lower at $66.99 and Cochlear had given up 32 cents to $60.52.

Mining stocks were mixed.

Rio Tinto had lost 35 cents to $59.65, BHP rose 14 cents to $36.59 and Fortescue Metals shed 2.5 cents to $4.365.

KEY FACTS

  • At 1040 AEST on Tuesday, the benchmark S&P/ASX200 index had lost 19.8 points, or 0.36 per cent, to 5,433.5.


  • The broader All Ordinaries index had lost 17.7 points, or 0.33 per cent, to 5,415.


  • The September share price index futures contract was 14 points higher at 5,395, with 7,550 contracts traded.


  • National turnover was 393 million securities worth $536 million.