November 18, 2019 / 1:33 AM / 25 days ago

Australia shares drop weighed by gold stocks; NZ down

* Tech stocks set to snap seven straight gains

* NAB looking to raise A$1.4 billion

* Saracen Mineral buys stake in WA gold mine for $750 mln

By Shreya Mariam Job

Nov 18 (Reuters) - Australian shares fell on Monday with gold stocks dragging as investors pull back and await definitive details on the “phase one” trade deal between the United States and China.

The S&P/ASX 200 index was set to snap two sessions of gains sliding 0.5% or 36.3 points to 6,757.80 by 0113 GMT. The benchmark rose 0.9% on Friday.

White House economic adviser Larry Kudlow said on Thursday that the United States and China were getting close to a trade agreement, citing what he called very constructive talks with Beijing, which helped spark a rally among global markets on Friday.

“It’s just words for now,” said Steven Daghlian, a market analyst at CommSec, referring to the upbeat comments on Thursday. “But the (local) market might need another positive catalyst or two before being able to track higher very decisively.”

The market is also awaiting the minutes from the central bank due to be released on Tuesday for any signs of a pause to its rate reduction.

Financial stocks erased all of their gains in the previous session to drop about 0.6%.

Shares of National Australia Bank dropped 0.7%. The country’s third largest lender is looking to raise A$1.4 billion ($959.70 million) through the issue of medium-term notes to help beef up its capital ahead of a regulatory deadline.

Meanwhile, Commonwealth Bank of Australia and Westpac Banking Corp also dropped 0.7% and 0.8%, respectively.

Gold stocks dropped 1.6% after adding over 2% in the past two sessions amid weakness in the bullion.

The sub-index was mainly dragged down by shares of Oceanagold Corp which fell 12.2%, set to record its worst session in over four months.

The precious metal sector also witnessed a sizeable deal on Monday when Saracen Mineral Holdings Ltd said it would buy Canadian-listed Barrick Gold Corp’s 50% stake in the Super Pit gold mine in Western Australia for $750 million. Shares of the company were on a trading halt. [

Meanwhile, Tech stocks were set to snap a seven day winning streak, shedding 0.6%.

Shares of Afterpay Touch Group Ltd and Link Administration Holdings shed 3% and 2.5%, respectively.

Shares of Appen Ltd gained 10.1%, however, after it raised its full year EBITDA guidance and was the top gainer on the Australian benchmark index.

Healthcare stocks also edged lower after two days of strong gains with the benchmark CSL Ltd posting a 0.7% fall.

New Zealand’s benchmark S&P/NZX 50 index declined 0.4% or 41.48points to 10.853.22.

Shares of Air New Zealand shed 0.9% after the company announced flight cancellations because of ongoing Rolls-Royce engine checks on its Boeing 787-9 aircraft. (Reporting by Shreya Mariam Job in Bengaluru; Editing by Tom Brown)

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