(Updates to close)
May 2 Australian shares snapped seven straight
sessions of gains to end Tuesday lower as financial stocks fell
after Australia and New Zealand banks' quarterly earnings missed
Meanwhile, Australia's central bank also held rates steady
at 1.5 percent for a ninth straight month on Tuesday as it
sought to balance the risk of bursting a debt-fuelled property
bubble against subdued inflation and wages growth.
The S&P/ASX 200 index closed 6.123 points, or 0.1
percent, down at 5,950.4, after seven straight gaining days.
Australia and New Zealand Banking Group fell as
much as 3 percent, logging its worst day in nearly six months,
after a 23 percent rise in first-half cash profit fell short of
ANZ was the first to report half-year results among the 'Big
Four' banks which had rallied in previous sessions on
optimism ahead of the results.
"ANZ's miss on consensus was disappointing in the background
of that rally," said Ric Spooner, chief market strategist at CMC
The ASX financial index was down over a percent as
the other three of the 'Big Four' banks fell between 0.2 percent
and 0.9 percent.
Investors will now be looking for National Bank of
Australia's half-year results due on May 4.
Basic material stocks also fell as BHP Billiton,
which has significant oil interests, fell 0.5 percent, while
gold stocks lost momentum as the precious metal hit near
Newcrest Mining shed 0.4 percent, while Evolution
Mining declined 3.5 percent.
On the other hand, consumer non-cyclicals gained as
Woolworth's rose as much as 2.5 percent after posting
strong sales figures for the quarter.
New Zealand's benchmark S&P/NZX 50 index rose for
the seventh straight day, up 0.5 percent, or 40.27 points to
Industrials and utility stocks gained with Air New Zealand
and Port of Tauranga rising 3 percent, while
Meridian Energy climbed as much as nearly 2 percent,
its biggest intraday percentage gain in 4 weeks.
(Reporting by Susan Mathew in Bengaluru; Additional reporting
by Rushil Dutta; Editing by Eric Meijer)