Australian shares closed slightly lower on Tuesday after a volatile session of trade, weighed down by miners as BHP reported a decline in first-quarter iron ore output.

The S&P/ASX 200 index fell 0.08pc to 7,374.9, snapping a three-session winning streak. The mining index, which has broadly underperformed the benchmark so far this year, dropped 1.6pc.

Shares of BHP closed 2pc lower after the world's largest miner posted a near 5pc drop in quarterly iron ore output due to maintenance work at its Jimblebar mine and a shortage of rail labour caused by COVID-19 border restrictions.

BHP left its annual production outlook unchanged, unlike rival Rio Tinto which cut its shipments forecast because of the tight labour market. Rio Tinto and Fortescue shed 3.25pc and 1.2pc, respectively.

"Iron ore miners have been under pressure a little more because of restrictions on steel production in China," said Steven Daghlian, a market analyst at CommSec.

Australia shares set to dip at open, NZ flat

Financials reversed early gains to close down 0.2pc as the so-called "Big Four" banks slipped between 0.1pc and 0.5pc.

Daghlian attributed the market uncertainty to concerns over higher inflation and interest rates, and bond markets.

Tech stocks advanced to their highest in nearly three weeks, tracking overnight gains on Wall Street boosted by big tech names. The sub-index gained 1.6pc, with after pay up 2.7pc.

Logistics firm Brambles climbed as much as 3.9pc as it reported a surge in quarterly revenue and provided an upbeat annual outlook.

Gaming giant Tabcorp tumbled 2.7pc after announcing plans to split its businesses by mid-2022, with one-off cash costs between A$225 million and A$275 million.

New Zealand's benchmark S&P/NZX 50 index rose 0.52pc to 13,065.92.


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