* China stimulus hopes buoy iron ore miners
* NAB falls up to 1.7%, Morgan Stanley cuts PT
* IOOF jumps on approval to buy ANZ pension licences
By Niyati Shetty
Dec 10 (Reuters) - Australian shares dipped on Tuesday as investors maintained a cautious stance ahead of a looming tariff deadline, though gains in iron ore miners helped limit losses on the bourse.
The S&P/ASX 200 index was down 0.2%, or 15.9 points, at 6,714.10, as of 0147 GMT. The bourse closed 0.3% firmer on Monday.
Investors were cautious ahead of the Dec. 15 deadline, when the next round of U.S. tariffs on Chinese goods is expected to take effect, anticipating some resolution to a bruising 17-month trade war that has damaged global demand and growth.
Markets are in a wait-and-watch mode, said James Tao, market analyst at CommSec, as they await headlines from either party.
A slew of economic events are also on the calendar this week, with the U.S. Federal Reserve and the European Central Bank due to hold their policy meetings.
Iron ore miners were the biggest gainers in the index as prices of the steel-making ingredient jumped overnight, buoyed by anticipation that top consumer China could introduce more stimulus measures to shore up its economy, driving the mining sub-index up 0.6%
Major miners BHP Group Ltd, Rio Tinto Ltd and Fortescue Metals Group Ltd gained between 0.8% and 1%.
The country’s third-biggest lender National Australia Bank Ltd fell up to 1.7% as brokerage Morgan Stanley cut the bank’s price target on expectations of further capital raising and an another dividend cut in fiscal 2020.
Commonwealth Bank of Australia slipped 0.3%, and Australia and New Zealand Banking Group was down 0.7%.
Australia’s banking regulator on Monday said it would allow wealth manager IOOF Holdings Ltd to hold controlling stakes in superannuation licenses currently owned by ANZ. IOOF shares rose as much as 5.8% to their highest in more than a year.
Energy units fell 0.5% as oil prices slipped overnight on concerns about global demand.
Oil Search Ltd declined 0.8% and Beach Energy Ltd fell 0.4%.
Petroleum retailer Viva Energy Group extended declines as it flagged lower annual earnings on Monday due to fuel-margin pressures.
In neighbouring New Zealand, the benchmark S&P/NZX 50 index edged up 0.2%, or 26.53 points, to 11,256.12.
Dairy firm a2 Milk Co gained 1.9%, while teleco Spark New Zealand slipped 1.4%. (Reporting by Niyati Shetty in Bengaluru, Editing by Sherry Jacob-Phillips)