February 25, 2016 / 2:59 AM / 4 years ago

Australia shares burdened by banks and miners, NZ soft

SYDNEY/WELLINGTON, Feb 25 (Reuters) - Australian shares slipped for a third straight session on Thursday, weighed down by persistent weakness in heavyweight banks and mining stocks.

The S&P/ASX 200 index eased 0.25 percent, or 12.2 points, to 4,862.80 by 0240 GMT. The benchmark had dropped 2.1 percent on Wednesday.

BHP Billiton fell 1.1 percent, extending its slump since Wednesday to almost 10 percent. After reporting a huge loss and slashing its dividend, news came Wednesday that some investors were suing the mining giant in U.S. courts.

Commonwealth Bank extended its recent dismal run with a drop of 1 percent to the lowest since September.

The shares are nearing major chart support in the A$70/70.15 region and a break would take it to ground not visited since late 2013.

Another big loser was casino group Crown Resorts, which fell 5 percent after reporting a sharp drop in profits as Beijing’s corruption crackdown hurt turnover at its operation in Macau.

One gainer was job website Seek which jumped 7.7 percent as its profits beat expectations.

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New Zealand’s benchmark S&P/NZX 50 index fell 0.24 percent or 14.85 points to 6,215.52 on Thursday.

New Zealand Refining Company led losses, falling 4.35 percent as investors took profits after the company rose the previous session on full-year earnings results.

Retirement village operator Summerset lost 1 percent, after gaining on Tuesday after posting a sharp jump in profit on Wednesday.

Air New Zealand rose 1.05 percent after posting record half-year profit as the airline expanded routes helped by low fuel prices and a tourism boom. (Editing by Kim Coghill)

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