Australia shares subdued, cautious on RBA's A$ comments
(Adds analysis, quotes, stocks on the move)
SYDNEY Nov 26 (Reuters) - Australian shares were flat on Tuesday morning in subdued trade as policymakers' discomfort over the current level of the Australian dollar and a lacklustre session on Wall Street kept most investors on the sidelines.
U.S. stocks barely budged overnight, with the Nasdaq unable to hold on to gains that briefly sent the index over 4,000 for the first time in 13 years.
Earlier on Tuesday, Reserve Bank of Australia Deputy Governor Philip Lowe said he expected to see a lower Australian dollar over time and reiterated the central bank would not rule direct intervention in or out.
Biyi Cheng, head of Asia-Pacific dealing at City Index, said the RBA's repeated rhetoric against what it considers is an overvalued Australian dollar has also induced caution among investors.
"So volume and liquidity will be very low, everyone is just cautious for their positions."
The S&P/ASX 200 index added 1.7 points to 5,354.5 by 0101 GMT. The benchmark rose 0.3 percent on Monday.
Trading was subdued, with 139.5 million shares changing hands, compared to a daily moving average of 681.4 million shares so far this year.
Miners were trading lower as copper prices made little headway overnight. Heavyweight miners BHP Billiton Ltd and Rio Tinto Ltd fell 0.4 percent and 0.9 percent respectively.
Rio Tinto is expected to close its Gove alumina refinery in Australia after ending talks with the Australian governments over securing gas supplies for the loss-making plant.
"At this stage obviously all these mining companies will be in focus, because if the Australian dollar keeps coming off... they will get strong support from it," Cheng said.
A lower local currency would benefit exporters when their U.S. dollar earnings get repatriated.
Bluechip banking stocks supported the market with the Commonwealth Bank of Australia up 0.3 percent and Australia and Westpac Banking Corp 0.7 percent higher.
The 'Big Four' banks have had a strong run this year with record earnings and high dividend yields of between 4.8 percent to 5.6 percent each. In comparison, general everyday depositor accounts yield yearly rates of 3-4 percent.
Australia's Ansell Ltd said it has agreed to buy U.S. gloves maker BarrierSafe Solutions International for about $615 million, a move to expand its position in the hand protection market in North America. Shares in Ansell were in a trading halt.
New Zealand's benchmark NZX 50 index slipped 0.1 percent to 4,809.4.
(Reporting by Thuy Ong; Editing by Shri Navaratnam)
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