(Updates to close)
Feb 22 Australian shares snapped a three-day
losing streak, ending marginally higher on Wednesday as gains by
consumer stocks offset losses in many financial counters.
The S&P/ASX 200 index closed up 0.2 percent, or
14.071 points, to 5805.10 at the close of trade.
The benchmark financial index slipped for a second
consecutive session, losing 0.7 percent.
The country's biggest mortgage lender, Commonwealth Bank of
Australia at one point was down 3 percent, its biggest
intraday loss in over three months. The stock, which is trading
ex-dividend, ended the day off 2.6 percent.
The other three of the "Big Four" banks closed higher, with
gains between 0.4 and 0.8 percent.
Media monitoring and analytics company iSentia Group
was the biggest loser on the index, falling to an
all-time low of A$1.67 after it said first-half core earnings
fell 13 percent.
Telecommunications service provider Vocus Group Ltd
, the biggest gainer on the benchmark index, closed 10.2
percent higher after a jump in its half-year revenue and profit.
Beverages distributor Coca-Cola Amatil Ltd rose to
a near two-year high after its annual profit rose 6 percent.
Miners were off as much as 0.8 percent before
finishing the day 0.3 percent down. Giant BHP Billiton
fell 0.7 percent for the day.
Iron ore miner Fortescue Metals Group Ltd declined
2.7 percent, after its half-year results fell short of market
The energy index added 1 percent, climbing for a
second straight session on strong oil prices.
New Zealand's benchmark S&P/NZX 50 index closed 0.7
percent lower, dragged down by consumer stocks.
Fletcher Building Ltd sinks as much as 7.4 percent
to its lowest in around four months after it said the global
market outlook was uncertain.
Subscription television provider Sky Network Television
closed 2.7 percent lower after its half-year profit
fell 32 percent.
A New Zealand court on Wednesday ruled that a 36-hour pause
must take place before Sky Network can buy Vodafone's New
Zealand unit if the competition regulator approves the
(Reporting by Sandhya Sampath in Bengaluru; Editing by Richard