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June 15 (Reuters) - Australian shares snapped a four-day winning streak on Thursday, hurt by weaker commodity prices and an overnight fall on Wall Street after the U.S. Federal Reserve hiked interest rates.
“The rate hike was completely expected. The interesting thing, though, were the other figures out last night, the CPI numbers, which were very ordinary,” said James McGlew, executive director of corporate stock broking at Argonaut.
“But Janet Yellen then sort of confused the market by saying it is the labour market that she has got her eyes on, and the labour market in the United States is particularly strong at the moment.”
Australia’s main benchmark index fell 1.2 percent, or 70.70 points, to 5,763.20. It had ended at near-one month highs on Wednesday.
Energy and basic materials shares were among the worst performers as commodity and oil prices remained stressed.
BHP and Rio Tinto lost about 3 percent and 3.7 percent, respectively.
Fortescue Metals, world’s no.4 iron ore miner, was 3.3 percent lower.
Oil and gas majors Woodside Petroleum and Oil Search were off 1.7 percent and 2 percent, respectively.
Banks were hit by profit booking, with the four biggest lenders falling 2.1 percent to about 3 percent, the biggest contributors to overall losses.
New Zealand’s benchmark S&P/NZX 50 index ended down 0.4 percent, or 32.36 points, at 7,516.35.
Energy stocks Meridian Energy and Z Energy were among the biggest gainers, adding about 1.4 percent each. (Reporting by Rushil Dutta; Editing by Kim Coghill)