(Updates to close)
May 19 Australian shares eased on Friday and
logged their steepest weekly fall since Novembe as weakness in
bank stocks offset gains in materials.
The S&P/ASX 200 index ticked 10.912 points, or 0.2
percent, lower at 5,727.4 at the close of trade, leading to a
1.9 percent loss for the week.
Financial stocks were in the red with the "Big Four"
slipping 0.6-1.9 percent.
Australia and New Zealand Banking Group dropped 2.2
percent in early trade to its lowest in five months, on its
third day of losses.
The benchmark index of financial stocks, which fell
for the past three days, closed down 0.8 percent. The index hit
its lowest in three months.
Australia's top billboard company oOh!media Ltd
edged lower on its sixth straight day of losses after its rival
APN Outdoor Group Ltd APO.AX dropped plans to buy the company
after the antitrust regulator raised concerns.
Defying market gloom, materials stocks crawled up, with the
mining benchmark closing 1.2 percent higher against a
backdrop of upbeat Shanghai steel and oil prices.
New Zealand's benchmark S&P/NZX 50 index closed 0.3
percent or 20.35 points higher to finish the session at
7,392.11. It ended the week at a 0.8 percent loss, the lowest
Fletcher Building, up as much as 1.9 percent,
(Reporting by Hanna Paul; Editing by Eric Meijer)