August 21, 2018 / 2:25 AM / 3 months ago

Australia shares fall as BHP results miss expectations; NZ slips

* BHP’s full-year underlying profit misses analysts’ estimates

* Local energy index slips, Oil Search HY profit falls

* NZ benchmark retreats from all-time high

By Aaron Saldanha

Aug 21 (Reuters) - Australian shares fell on Tuesday, drawn lower by materials and financials after annual results of the world’s biggest miner, BHP, missed analyst forecasts and raised concerns about global resources demand.

BHP’s full-year underlying profit rose 32.7 percent but fell short of expectations with shares losing 1.8 percent as investors shrugged off a record final dividend.

The S&P/ASX 200 index was down 0.9 percent to 6,289.80 at 0200 GMT on Tuesday. It added 0.1 percent on Monday.

“Now we’re getting into desynchronised global growth - some parts doing well, some not so well...BHP is pretty much linked to what happens in China,” said Mathan Somasundaram, Chief market strategist at CMC Markets.

“We’re looking at a situation where the U.S. is potentially going to do okay, China’s probably going to do less okay - which means it’s going to get tougher than what it has been in the last couple of years.”

BHP’s chief executive on Tuesday said the miner was “a little more apprehensive” on the short-term outlook given the trade ructions between China and the United States.

Shares of rival miner Rio Tinto Ltd were 0.9 percent lower.

Seven West Media Ltd lost as much as 11.3 percent after the firm said its full-year underlying net profit fell 14.6 percent.

An index of the country’s financial stocks was trading 0.9 percent lower, with Commonwealth Bank of Australia down 0.3 percent and Australia and New Zealand Banking Group Ltd 1.6 percent lower.

CMC Markets’ Somasundaram said that as trade war worries fade and emerging market currencies stabilise, money parked in Australian banks was being redeployed as the relative safety trade was unwound.

Australia’s energy index was trading 1.4 percent lower despite oil prices holding ground as Oil Search Ltd reported a near 40 percent fall in half-year profit, counting the cost of an earthquake at a co-owned liquefied natural gas project during the period.

Despite an upgrade to 2018 output guidance, Oil Search shares were down as much as 2.3 percent after the firm halved its interim dividend.

Shares of Australia’s biggest grocer Woolworths Group fell 2.5 percent, extending losses incurred on Monday after it flagged it had rapidly lost sales momentum after starting to charge shoppers for plastic bags.

In neighbouring New Zealand, the local benchmark S&P/NZX 50 index slipped 0.2 percent to 9,095.44, as losses in materials and telecom stocks weighed.

Construction firm Fletcher Building Ltd dropped 3 percent as the main index retreated from an all-time high set on Monday.

Fletcher is expected to report an annual loss on Wednesday compared with a profit last year as cost overruns at its commercial business unit continue to weigh.

For more individual stocks activity click on (Reporting by Aaron Saldanha, Additional reporting by Devika Syamnath in Bengaluru; Editing by Sam Holmes)

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