April 11, 2019 / 7:09 AM / 2 months ago

Australia shares slip as investors stay cautious; NZ rises

* Bank of Queensland slides on disappointing H1 results

* Miners fall as iron ore prices run out of steam

* New Zealand index snaps six-session losing streak (Updates to close)

April 11 (Reuters) - Australian shares fell on Thursday, dragged down by financials and mining stocks, as many investors remained anxious about the global growth outlook and trade disputes.

The S&P/ASX 200 index was down 0.4 percent or 24.8 points to 6,198.7 at the close. The benchmark barely moved on Wednesday.

Investors shrugged off Wall Street’s positive overnight performance, having mixed emotions about minutes of the last Federal Reserve meeting.

The Fed’s forecast of no rate hikes in 2019 has cheered investors, but that is rooted in expectation of slowing U.S. growth. In the minutes, policymakers said a “deterioration” in the U.S. economy could be amplified by large debt burdens at American companies.

James McGlew, executive director of corporate stockbroking at Argonaut, said positive leads from the minutes “did not spill over to our markets today as investors here remained cautious, probably focusing on the lack of consensus among the U.S. policymakers”.

There is also concern about U.S. President Donald Trump’s threat of new tariffs on goods produced in the European Union, and the Sino-U.S. trade dispute remains unresolved.

Mining stocks dropped 1.1 percent. Iron ore prices rose slightly but remained far below a record high reached two days ago amid a 7-day surge.

BHP Group fell 0.6 percent, while rival behemoth Rio Tinto shed 1.3 percent. Fortescue Metals Group gave up 1.2 percent.

Gold miners ran out of steam after four sessions of gains. St Barbara tumbled 2.4 percent while Saracen Mineral Holdings lost 1 percent.

Financial stocks were off 0.7 percent, falling for the fifth session out of the last six. Commonwealth Bank of Australia fell 0.5 percent and Westpac Banking Corp by 1.3 percent.

Bank of Queensland fell 4.9 percent, most among financial stocks, after reporting disappointing first-half cash earnings.

Export-oriented healthcare stocks also fell, as the Australian dollar hit a six-week peak, with index heavyweight CSL falling 1.2 percent while Cochlear shed 1.3 percent.

Healthcare companies generate a substantial portion of their revenue overseas, particularly in the United States and strength in the Aussie dollar negatively dents their earnings.

New Zealand’s benchmark S&P/NZX 50 index rose 0.6 percent or 58.64 points to finish at 9,766.6, snapping a six-day losing streak.

Restaurant Brands New Zealand rose 2.6 percent. (Reporting by Rashmi Ashok in Bengaluru; Additional reporting by Aby Jose Koilparambil; Editing by Richard Borsuk)

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