(Updates to close)
Dec 15 Australian shares ended lower on
Thursday, with energy and metal stocks taking a hit from the
U.S. dollar which surged when the U.S. Federal Reserve raised
interest rates by a quarter point and hinted at a faster pace of
increases in 2017.
The fed funds target was to raised to a range of between
0.50 percent and 0.75 percent, as widely expected. But the
prospect of three rate hikes next year, versus the two
anticipated earlier spooked investors.
Fed Chair Janet Yellen said some policymakers had begun
shifting their views about fiscal policy, while adding Trump's
election had put the central bank under a "cloud of
The S&P/ASX 200 index closed 0.8 percent,or 46.02
points lower at 5,538.60.
Australian gold stocks saw their worst day in nearly
eight months after the strong dollar pulled global gold prices
to their lowest in more than 10 months.
Newcrest Mining Ltd fell 5.2 percent and Regis
Resources Ltd was down 8 percent.
Declines in oil prices drove energy stocks down, with
Woodside Petroleum and Santos dropping 2.8
percent and 10.7 percent, respectively.
The metals index posted a fall of 2.3 percent, with
mining giant BHP Billiton Ltd and Newcrest Mining Ltd
falling 1.8 to 5.2 percent.
New Zealand's benchmark S&P/NZX 50 index finished
0.7 percent or 49.24 points down at 6,748.62.
Consumer and utilities stocks led the losses, with Sky
Network Television falling 4.2 percent, while Contact
Energy Ltd lost 1.7 percent.
(Reporting by Krishna V Kurup in Bengaluru; Editing by Eric