(Updates to close)
Feb 14 Australian shares stepped back slightly
to snap a five day winning streak on Tuesday, as earnings
worries dragged on consumer and healthcare stocks.
The S&P/ASX 200 index was off 0.1 percent, or 5.488
points, at 5,755.2 by the close of trade. The benchmark ended
up 0.7 percent in the previous session.
The healthcare care sector was pressured by a sharp 3.6
percent fall in Cochlear Ltd as its record half year
profit was eclipsed by concerns over sales in China.
The firm said the number of implants for young children it
sold under Beijing's national tender scheme fell 35.3 percent
compared to the previous year and cut its full-year outlook for
A glass half-empty view also hurt world No. 1 stand-alone
wine company, Treasury Wine Estates Ltd, which offered
a muted outlook after a strong half year result. Its shares
tumbled 4.7 percent, taking down the consumer non-cyclical
sector with it.
Both stocks were the worst performers on the benchmark
A rally in basic materials stocks also faded by day's end
with the materials index ending 0.03 percent up.
China's iron ore futures rose on Tuesday to their highest in
more than three years, while copper held on to solid overnight
gains amid supply concerns and ahead of testimony from U.S.
Federal Reserve Chair Janet Yellen later in the day
Iron ore miner Fortescue Metals rose 2.6 percent,
hitting its highest in more than six years. Rio Tinto
tacked on 0.3 percent, its highest close in nearly 3 years.
BHP Billiton, however, ended the day 0.9 percent
New Zealand's benchmark S&P/NZX 50 index was up 0.22
percent, or 15.39 points, to finish the session at 7,150.89.
Port Tauranga and Metlifecare were the
biggest gainers on the index, adding 2.3 percent and 1.7
On the downside, NZX Ltd and web advertiser Trade
Me Group lost 2.6 percent and 1.7 percent,
(Reporting by Susan Mathew in Bengaluru; Editing by Shri