(Updates to close)
May 12 Australian shares ended the week lower on
Friday, hurt by declines in the financial sector, while strength
in the materials sector driven by overnight gains in gold and
copper prices helped curtail some of the losses.
The S&P/ASX 200 index closed 0.7 percent, or 41.44
points, weaker at 5,836.9 points, leaving the benchmark index
flat for the week.
Commonwealth Bank of Australia and Macquarie Group
Ltd fell 0.5 percent and 1 percent respectively,
dragging the financials index lower.
The tax on liabilities unveiled in Tuesday's federal budget
caught banks, which had previously enjoyed the support of the
ruling centre-right government, unawares and was strongly
criticised by bank executives.
"On the bank side of things, it continues to be dominated by
the levy," said Tony Farnham, economist at Patersons Securities.
Nine of the 10 sectors in index ended Friday weaker, but the
mining sector was a bright spot, thanks to stronger gold and
Global miners BHP Billiton Ltd and Rio Tinto Ltd
climbed 0.6 percent and 0.4 percent, respectively, as
copper prices touched a one week-high on Thursday after funds
cut bearish bets.
Among the gold miners, Newcrest Mining Ltd rose 2.4
percent after the bullion price rose on Thursday having been
flat or lower for the previous eight sessions.
New Zealand's benchmark S&P/NZX 50 index slipped 0.5
percent, or 37.33 points to finish the session at 7,452.38. It
gained 1.2 percent during the week.
A2 Milk Ltd was the biggest percentage loser,
slumping 6.8 percent. The dairy company had touched a record
high in the earlier session.
(Reporting by Shashwat Pradhan in Bengaluru; Editing by Simon