(Updates to close)
Feb 21 Australian shares declined marginally on
Tuesday, their third straight down day, as gains in basic
material stocks were outweighed by losses in other sectors due
to disappointing earnings.
The S&P/ASX 200 index closed down 0.07 percent, or
4.065 points, to 5,791.029
The basic material sector was driven higher by climbing
copper and iron ore prices. Rio Tinto rose 2 percent
while Fortescue Metals added 2.7 percent.
The world's largest miner by market capital, BHP Billiton
declared a bigger-than-expected dividend and reported a
near eight-fold rise in underlying net profit in half-year
results announced after Tuesday's market close.
Shares of BHP, which fell the two previous days, rose 1
percent on Tuesday ahead of the financial results.
The energy sector was driven lower by slides in the
share-prices for WorleyParsons, Oil Search and
WorleyParsons fell 7.8 percent, adding to losses on Monday
after it reported a half-year statutory net loss of A$2.4
Oil Search shed 2.1 percent after reporting a 70 percent
slump in full-year core profit.
Duet Group shares dropped 1.8 percent.
Aconex Ltd shaved 6.2 percent after it posted a net
loss of A$3.5 million for half year-ended Dec. 31, compared with
profit of A$4.6 mln a year earlier. The stock was
the second biggest loser on the benchmark.
New Zealand's benchmark S&P/NZX 50 index gained 0.23
percent, or 16.19 points to finish the session at 7,115.69.
Auckland International Airport and Fletcher
Building both rose 1.5 percent.
Telecom company Spark New Zealand FELL 0.6 percent
while a2 milk company lost 1.6 percent.
(Reporting by Susan Mathew in Bengaluru; Editing by Richard