(Updates to close)
April 13 Australian shares ended the last
session of the week lower, as materials and energy stocks fell
because concerns about rising inventories and a possible glut.
Globally, geopolitical tensions and President Donald Trump's
comment that the dollar "was getting too strong," and expressed
preference for low interest rates made investors jittery and
weakened the greenback.
The S&P/ASX 200 index was down 0.8 percent, or
45.358 points, to 5,888.6 at the close of trade. On the week,
the index gained 0.4 percent.
Miners in the region fell on overnight losses in Chinese
steel and iron ore futures which fell to their lowest prices in
months as market sentiment turned bearish on the demand outlook.
Iron ore on the Dalian Commodity Exchange was down
0.6 percent at 0628 GMT.
BHP Billiton lost 4 percent in its third straight
losing day, while shares in Fortescue Metals declined
6.8 percent in its sixth straight falling day, hitting its
lowest in five months.
Fortescue Metals said it sees iron ore prices
continuing to fall to between $60 and $65 a tonne as imports to
China continue to rise, even after it reported a 6 percent fall
in third-quarter shipments on Thursday.
Shares of the miner were down 6.8 percent, hitting their
lowest in more than 5 months.
Energy stocks lost as crude oil futures slid for a second
session on Thursday, on rising U.S. production stoking worries
about global oversupply.
Woodside Petroleum lost 2.1 percent, its steepest
intraday loss in more than two months.
Whitehaven Coal ended the session 6.9 percent lower
after reporting a 11 percent decline in quarterly coal sales.
Regionally, data showing that employment in March rose by
60,900 in Australia, beating expectations, also failed to cheer
New Zealand's benchmark S&P/NZX 50 index ended 0.3
percent, or 21.74 points, lower at 7,229.8, adding to the 0.2
percent weekly loss.
Utility companies Meridian Energy and Contact
Energy lost over 1 percent, while poultry products
distributor Tegel Group led the losses, shedding 2.5
The Australia and New Zealand markets will be closed on
April 14 for Good Friday.
(Rreporting by Susan Mathew in Bengaluru)