WELLINGTON, April 8 (Reuters) - Australian shares edged down on Friday, tracking Wall Street lower amidst renewed worries about global growth and profit-taking before the earnings season.
The S&P/ASX 200 index fell 20.479 points to 4,943.60 by 0148 GMT. The benchmark lost 0.41 percent on Friday and was headed for a weekly drop of 1.6 percent, its third week of losses.
“We have been expecting for a number of weeks that the risk of the U.S. market moving into profit taking mode will drag the Aussie market down in the first half of April,” said Mathan Somasundaram, quantative strategy analyst at Baillieu Holst.
Somasundaram said the U.S. earnings reporting season will coincide with upcoming school holidays in Australia, when local fund managers would typically trim exposure to more volatile stocks.
Financial companies led losses with Bank Of Queensland falling as much as 6.8 percent as brokers cut targets.
ANZ lost 1.72 percent and Westpac was down 1.25 percent.
Oz Minerals lost 4.66 percent as the company announced a cost saving program.
Iluka Resources fell 6.32 percent after saying on Thursday that its zircon reference price would be reduced by 10 percent in the second quarter.
Evolution Mining led gains, rising as much as 8.9 percent as the company reported record gold output.
For more individual stocks activity click on New Zealand’s benchmark S&P/NZX 50 index also fell, losing 0.55 percent or 36.960 points to 6,718.27.
However, the index was poised to close up 0.32 percent for the week, its eighth weekly gain in a row as New Zealand’s record low interest rates prompted investors to seek higher returns in stocks.
Casino operator Sky City lost 3.57 percent after its CEO announced on Thursday that he was resigning.
Accounting software company Xero fell 1.98 percent and Genesis Energy lost 1.12 percent.
Kiwi Property fell 1.37 percent after the property company announced it was acquiring a 50 percent interest in a shopping centre, which would be funded through a new bank loan.
Shares in Fonterra’s fund, which provides investor exposure to the farmer-owned dairy exporter, rose 0.35 percent as the dairy co-operative announced it was opening a new distribution centre at Auckland Airport for its New Zealand consumer business.
Reporting by Charlotte Greenfield; Editing by Simon Cameron-Moore