November 30, 2018 / 7:13 AM / 5 months ago

Australia shares down on weak banks, nerves before G20; NZ rises

* Royal Commission inquiry ends, final report due in Feb

* Beverage maker Coca-Cola Amatil top loser on the main index

* NZ benchmark gains for fourth consecutive session (Updates to close)

By Shriya Ramakrishnan

Nov 30 (Reuters) - Australian shares ended lower on Friday as investors grappled with a cocktail of negative domestic and global factors, including uncertainty over an inquiry into the financial sector and weak Chinese factory activity data.

World markets were also on edge before a meeting of Chinese and U.S. leaders over the weekend for talks expected to centre on trade issue as a tariff row between the two nations showed no signs of abating.

Australia’s benchmark S&P/ASX 200 index closed down 1.6 percent or 91.20 points at 5667.20, after rising 0.6 percent on Thursday. The index posted its third consecutive monthly loss, losing 2.8 percent in November, hurt in part by global growth concerns and international trade friction.

Financial stocks dominated losses and fell 1.6 percent as a high profile inquiry into the sector concluded after months of shocking revelations of misconduct and wrongdoing at the country’s top banks.

“Uncertainty surrounding the Royal Commission and in its findings has fanned a broad sell off of the financial stocks, and that in turn has affected a large part of the market,” said James McGlew, executive director of corporate stockbroking at Argonaut.

Some of the world’s most profitable banks like Australia’s ‘big four’ and wealth manager AMP Ltd have lost about A$40 billion ($29.24 billion) worth of market value this year, as investors bailed out after a Royal Commission inquiry heard shocking tales of rip-offs, mistreatment of customers and even taking money from the dead.

The inquiry is scheduled to end with a final report due by February 1, that some analysts predict will lead to tougher regulation and provide recommendations for how to clean up the industry.

The “Big Four” banks along with AMP shed between 0.4 and 1.7 percent on the day.

Investor sentiment has remained fragile ahead of a crucial meeting between U.S. President Donald Trump and his Chinese counterpart Xi Jinping at the G20 summit in Argentina over the weekend.

With the G20 meeting in the weekend, “everything can change,” said Michael McCarthy, chief market strategist at CMC.

Adding to the pressure, factory growth in China - Australia’s biggest export market - slowed to its weakest pace in over 2 years in November, as new orders slowed.

Elsewhere, beverage maker Coca-Cola Amatil Ltd plunged 14.5 percent, and was the top percentage loser on the benchmark index, after the company flagged one-off costs of about A$50 million ($36.56 million) in 2018.

Bucking the broad market, troubled retailer Myer Holdings jumped 5.8 percent after shareholders rejected the board’s executive pay for a second year. Australian law dictates shareholders must be given the option to replace the board if pay proposals are rejected two years running.

New Zealand’s benchmark S&P/NZX 50 index closed up 0.33 percent or 28.66 points at 8,823.54, boosted by gains across most sectors. The index gained 0.8 percent for the month.

Dairy firm Synlait Milk strengthened nearly 5 percent, while electricity retailer Genesis Energy Ltd rose 3.6 percent. ($1 = 1.3678 Australian dollars) (Reporting by Shriya Ramakrishnan in Bengaluru Editing by Shri Navaratnam)

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