| Sept 8
Sept 8 Australian shares fell to their lowest in
close to two months on Thursday as many investors were edgy
about global economic prospects, and some encouraging trade data
from China did not lift spirits.
All sectors, led by financials and basic materials, wallowed
in red seeking cues from global economic events queued up in the
The S&P/ASX 200 index was at its lowest since
mid-July, down 47.55 points, or 0.9 percent, at 5376.7 at 0246
GMT. The benchmark rose marginally on Wednesday.
China August trade data, awaited as a gauge of global demand,
topped forecasts as imports recorded their first annual rise
since late 2014. But that didn't help Australian shares.
Australia's own better-than-expected trade numbers elicited
no reaction from the markets.
The European Central Bank meets later in the day and will
probably respond to pressure for further easing by announcing an
extension to its asset purchase programme by year-end, a Reuters
"There is certainly cautiousness in the market," said Tony
Farnham, economist with Patersons Securities.
"And I genuinely believe that's going to be something that
stays in place for an extended period as we work way through all
the central bank meetings."
The Bank of Japan, which meets Sept. 20-21, is split on
whether to add stimulus, while weak data from the U.S. recently
has reduced chances for a Federal reserve rate rise in
Basic materials were the index's worst performers, weighed
down by BHP Billiton Ltd and Rio Tinto Ltd,
losing 1.7 percent and 1.3 percent respectively.
Gold stocks fell too. Northern Star Resources was
off 3 percent and St Barbara Ltd 3.6 percent.
The "Big Four" banks lost between 1 and 2 percent, pulling
down the financial sector, the benchmark's biggest.
Oil prices extended gains by over 1.5 percent but provided
energy stocks no relief. Woodside Petroleum and Oil
Search Ltd shed 2 percent and 1 percent respectively.
New Zealand's benchmark S&P/NZX 50 index was 0.4
percent, or 29.66 points, lower at 7,540.96.
The benchmark closed at a record high on Wednesday.
Gains in energy were offset by losses in financial and
Westpac Banking Corp was 0.8 percent lower, while
Australia and New Zealand Banking Group was down 1.8
Air New Zealand Ltd's shares slumped as much as 17
pct, their biggest percentage loss in nearly 15 years, as the
carrier traded ex-dividend.
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(Additional reporting by Anusha Ravindranath; Editing by