(Updates to close)
March 3 - Australian shares ended lower on Friday, shadowing
Wall Street which took a breather from a strong run, with
materials and financials leading the broad-based selloff.
The S&P/ASX 200 index ended 0.8 percent, or 46.588
points, down at 5,730.00, posting its biggest intraday
percentage loss in over a month. It lost 0.2 percent on the
Risk of an imminent U.S. interest rate hike soured Wall
Street's party as the reality of rising borrowing costs began to
sink in. Fed Chair Janet Yellen and Vice Chair Stanley Fischer
are slated to speak later in the day.
All major sectors, except telecom stocks, traded in negative
Gary Burton, a market analyst at IG Markets, attributed some
of the weakness to investors cashing in on Thursday's strong
The benchmark index rose 1.3 percent on Thursday.
Financials, tracked their U.S. peers, ending 0.7
percent lower, with the "Big Four" banks losing between 0.6 to
Materials were dragged down by commodity prices, as gold and
copper prices fell in the face of a strong dollar.
The benchmark mining index lost as much as 2.7
percent, its biggest intraday percentage loss in over 13 weeks.
Global miners Rio Tinto and BHP Billiton
ended 4.1 percent and 1.4 percent lower respectively.
On the other end, QBE Insurance Group resisted
losses by ending 1.8 percent higher.
New Zealand's benchmark S&P/NZX 50 index fell 0.2
percent, or 14.96 points, to finish the session at 7,160.87. The
index added 1.5 percent on the week, snapping two weeks of
Financials were the biggest drag on the benchmack index,
with all the constituents of the sector finishing lower.
Westpac Banking Corp fell 1.3 percent, while Sky
Network Television Ltd lost 2.7 percent.
(Reporting by Sandhya Sampath in Bengaluru; Editing by Simon