June 24, 2013 / 1:31 AM / 5 years ago

Australia shares tumble on Fed stimulus, China growth worries

(Adds comments, stocks on the move)

SYDNEY, June 24 (Reuters) - Australian shares dived 1.5 percent on Monday, pulled down by miners and financials as investors remained concerned about the Federal Reserve’s plans to taper monetary stimulus and slowing growth in China.

BHP Billiton Ltd dropped 2.8 percent while rival Rio Tinto Ltd lost 1.6 percent. Newcrest Mining Ltd tumbled 5.4 percent to 9-year-lows of A$9.79, in an almost uninterrupted decline since 2011.

Rio Tinto has scrapped the planned sale of its diamonds business, valued in its books at $1.3 billion, amid a slide in global financial markets and a tough environment for commodity asset sales.

Financials also dragged, with top lender Commonwealth Bank of Australia down 0.7 percent and National Australia Bank Ltd falling 1 percent.

The S&P/ASX 200 index dived 69.2 points to 4,669.6, edging towards 1-1/2 week lows, by 0108 GMT. The benchmark fell 1.1 percent last week.

The Fed’s plan to cut back on how much cheap money it pumps into the world’s biggest economy has raised concerns about the impact on growth and prompted sharp adjustments in global asset markets.

“The valuation adjustment for tapering of Fed stimulus is well underway,” said Ric Spooner, chief market analyst at CMC Markets.

“While it may have further to go, a substantial valuation adjustment has already occurred in the Australian market.”

Stocks with exposure to the United States edged higher - helping to cap broader losses - supported by a weaker Australian dollar as earnings from abroad are boosted when repatriated home. Blood products maker CSL Ltd climbed 1.5 percent while pallets maker Brambles Ltd added 0.3 percent.

The Australian dollar remained under pressure, trading at $0.9227. It hit a 33-month low on Thursday of $0.9163 and fell more than 3 percent for the week.

New Zealand’s benchmark NZX 50 index rose 0.2 percent or 8.5 points to 4,371.6.


* AMP Ltd plunged 8.8 percent to A$4.54, its lowest trading price since November 2012. The insurance and wealth management company warned its first-half underlying profit would drop by around 13 percent due to high claims and policy lapses.

(0106 GMT)

* Echo Entertainment Group Ltd stumbled 1 percent to A$3.02 as the Australian gaming firm submitted plans for a $1 billion expansion of its Star casino in Sydney, including an option that would allow rival Crown Ltd to open a VIP-only casino.

(0107 GMT)

* Metcash Ltd soared 5.8 percent to A$3.64 after the company reported its revenue rose 3.8 percent to $13.1 billion and says its final dividend will be $0.165 per share fully franked for the half.

0107 GMT Reporting by Thuy Ong; Editing by Stephen Coates

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