November 12, 2018 / 1:33 AM / a month ago

Australia shares inch lower on weak global sentiment; New Zealand flat

* Australian trading volumes at fraction of 30-day avg

* ANZ trades ex-div, among biggest drags on benchmark index

* Metals and mining stocks flat, BHP sheds over 0.5 pct

By Ambar Warrick

Nov 12 (Reuters) - Australian shares started the week slightly lower on Monday as falling global equities and lower commodity prices checked investor sentiment.

Stocks markets around the world tumbled on Friday on renewed worries about global growth after China reported weak factory-gate inflation data and oil prices fell. Base metal prices and iron ore futures had also weakened.

The S&P/ASX 200 index fell 7.8 points to 5,914.0 by 0054 GMT, having dropped slightly on Friday. Trading volumes were also well below their 30-day average.

“The negative leads we’ve seen from commodity markets and from European and U.S. trading on Friday night are having an impact this morning,” said Michael McCarthy, chief market strategist at CMC Markets.

He said trading volumes were lacklustre in the session so far, and that there was “a lot of caution, but not a lot of commitment from investors.”

Financials fell about 0.7 percent, with sector heavyweight Australia and New Zealand Banking Group losing more than 3 percent as it traded ex-dividend. The stock was among the largest drags on the main benchmark.

However, Westpac Banking Corp rose slightly after the bank said it would raise new capital through a notes offering.

In the resources sector, there was little direction as investors appeared non-committal. Heavyweight BHP gave up more than 0.5 percent, but rival Rio Tinto gained about 2 percent after the miner completed its A$2.87 billion ($2.07 billion) off-market buy-back.

Hospital operator Healthscope Ltd was among the biggest gainers on the ASX 200 after receiving a sweetened $3.3 billion takeover offer from Brookfield Capital Partners. The stock gained about 11 percent.

Adult education provider Navitas shed more than 1 percent after it rejected a takeover bid from its founder and a private equity firm.

New Zealand’s benchmark S&P/NZX 50 index was largely flat at 8,926.27, as losses in utilities and industrial stocks were offset by stronger healthcare and consumer shares.

Fisher & Paykel Healthcare Corp rose slightly, while Auckland International Airport shed about 0.3 percent.

$1 = 1.3843 Australian dollars Reporting by Ambar Warrick in Bengaluru Editing by Shri Navaratnam

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