September 13, 2018 / 2:22 AM / 11 days ago

Aussie shares slip as powerful inquiry hits financials; NZ flat

* Aussie shares on track to fall for tenth session out of eleven

* Banks and insurers hit by latest findings of Royal Commission

* Materials gain on recovery in commodities

By Aditya Soni

Sept 13 (Reuters) - Australian shares fell on Thursday as financials were whipped by the explosive revelations of a high profile inquiry, though gains in materials on a recovery in commodity prices capped the losses.

The S&P/ASX 200 index fell 0.5 percent or 30 points to 6,145.90 by 0200 GMT. The benchmark ticked down 3.80 points on Wednesday.

Banks and insurers bore the brunt of the losses, as the latest revelations of a year-long inquiry into Australia’s financial sector misconduct added to their woes.

The insurance arm of Commonwealth Bank of Australia (CBA) rejected a trauma payout to a customer using outdated criterion that found his heart attack was not severe enough, the inquiry heard on Wednesday.

Battered by the findings of the Royal Commission, financials have lost about 6.8 percent this year and are the worst performing sector in the country.

Index heavyweight Australia and New Zealand Banking Group Ltd was trading 0.7 percent lower near a three-week low, while top lender CBA was down 1 percent.

Shares of country’s biggest grocer Woolworths Group , which were trading ex-dividend, fell as much as 2.7 percent to a more than four-month low and were among the top drags on the benchmark.

Drugmaker CSL Ltd, which has had strong year so far, marked by record highs and a near 50 percent jump in prices, was trading 1.5 percent lower and was the biggest drag on the benchmark.

Michael McCarthy, chief market strategist at CMC Markets, said that CSL has been under pressure after it peaked at an all-time high and a bounce in the local currency was putting pressure on the global player.

The Australian dollar was trading 0.2 percent higher by 0200 GMT.

However, a recovery in base metals prices and a jump in Dalian iron ore futures reinvigorated interest in mining stocks.

The metals and mining index jumped as much as 1.8 percent, its biggest intraday percentage gain in more one-month.

Global miner BHP rose 1.6 percent to a more than one-week high and was the biggest boost to the benchmark, while its rival Rio Tinto Ltd saw its best session in nearly two-months as it firmed 1.9 percent.

Across the Tasman sea, New Zealand’s shares were unchanged as gains in consumer discretionary stocks were negated by a fall in telecommunication services.

The benchmark S&P/NZX 50 index ticked up 0.42 points to 9,915.99.

Trade Me Group Ltd gained 2.6 percent and was among the biggest boosts to the benchmark, while Skycity Entertainment Group Ltd rose 0.3 percent.

On the other hand, teleco Spark New Zealand Ltd fell 0.9 percent and accounted for most of the losses on the benchmark. (Reporting by Aditya Soni in Bengaluru; Additional reporting by Ambar Warrick; Editing by Kim Coghill)

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