November 14, 2018 / 6:36 AM / a month ago

Banks, commodity stocks weigh on Aussie shares, NZ falls

* Miners fall on softer copper, iron ore prices

* Energy stocks hurt by plunge in oil prices

* Aussie shares of CYBG is a “shining light” in the banking sector- analyst (Updates to close)

By Shriya Ramakrishnan

Nov 14 (Reuters) - Banks and commodity stocks led declines in Australian shares on Wednesday against a backdrop of broader losses in global equities, pressured by concerns of slowing growth.

World oil prices slumped on weakening demand and supply glut concerns. Sluggish corporate earnings as well as Sino-U.S. trade tensions have kept investors away from riskier assets over the past couple of months.

Australia’s S&P/ASX 200 index slipped for a second straight session, closing 1.7 percent down at 5,732.8. The benchmark closed 1.8 percent lower on Tuesday.

Bank stocks closed nearly 2 percent lower as they continue to bear the brunt of explosive findings from a Royal Commission inquiry into financial sector misconduct.

The ‘Big Four’ banks lost between 2.3 percent and 3 percent for the day.

“There is a broad based sell-off in the banking sector, and the concern is that this is being done with a decent volume today...there is fear in the air,” said James McGlew, executive director of corporate stockbroking at Argonaut.

McGlew added that with certain findings from the Royal Commission yet to be handed down, the banking sector is still in the spotlight.

“Clydesdale (Bank) today is a shining light in a banking sector that is otherwise down significantly,” said McGlew.

UK-based Clydesdale Bank Plc was spun off from National Australia Bank in 2016. Australia-listed shares of Clydesdale’s holding company CYBG PCL rose 3.4 percent, its biggest intra-day percentage gain in over 5 months.

Metals and mining stocks also dragged the market to close nearly 2.4 percent lower, hurt by copper and iron ore prices.

Global miners BHP Billiton and Rio Tinto fell 2.3 percent and 2.6 percent, respectively.

Energy stocks fell 2.6 percent, with sector heavyweight Woodside Petroleum Ltd losing 2.5 percent and Santos Ltd declining 5 percent.

Bucking the trend, telco Telstra Corporation Ltd rose 0.7 percent, thanks to its attractive dividend, said McGlew.

New Zealand’s benchmark S&P/NZX 50 index fell nearly 0.4 percent to finish the session at 8,827.74.

Express package and mail service provider Freightways Ltd led losses, down 6.2 percent. A2 Milk Ltd fell 2.8 percent. (Reporting by Shriya Ramakrishnan in Bengaluru, editing by Eric Meijer)

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