| March 13
March 13 Australian shares slipped on Monday as
a slump in crude oil prices weighed on the resources sector and
as investors turned cautious ahead of a widely expected U.S.
interest rate hike later this week.
The S&P/ASX 200 index fell 0.4 percent or 23.92
points to 5,751.7 by 0055 GMT.
“There is caution ahead of the big week that we’ve got
coming up" said Michael McCarthy, chief market strategist at CMC
"We have got inflation numbers and the interest rate
decision coming from the U.S. So, there is a lot to potentially
move the market."
A robust U.S. job report on Friday pointed to strength in
the world's biggest economy, setting the stage for the Federal
Reserve to raise interest rates this week.
The market's focus is now shifting to the pace of rate hikes
Recently, Fed Chair Janet Yellen had signaled that the U.S.
central bank would likely hike rates at its March 14-15 policy
meeting if employment and other economic data hold up.
In Australia, energy and material stocks were battered with
the benchmark energy index falling more than 1 percent.
Oil major Woodside Petroleum Ltd shed 1 percent, while
its peer Santos Ltd dropped 1.5 percent.
Mining giant BHP Billition, which has significant
oil exposure, hit a four-month low while Rio Tinto
dropped to its lowest in three months.
Financials, the biggest index constituent, were also in the
red, with the worst performer AMP Ltd losing more than
2 percent at one point.
Defensive stocks including healthcare, consumer and telecom
were sold off.
On the flipside, gold stocks jumped as the yellow metal's
prices rebounded on Friday. The gold index hit its
highest in more than a week with shares of Newcrest Mining
rising more than 4 percent and Evolution Mining
gaining over 5 percent.
New Zealand's benchmark S&P/NZX 50 index hit a more
than one-week high, helped by gains in consumer and telecom
stocks. The index rose 0.3 percent or 18.2 points to 7,195.8 by
SKY Network Television Ltd was the top performer,
rising 3.5 percent.
Real estate companies took a beating after the Real Estate
Institute of New Zealand said house prices fell in Auckland
during February. Shares of Kiwi Property Group Ltd
dropped to its lowest in two months.
(Reporting by Anusha Ravindranath in Bengaluru; Additional
reporting By Krishna. V. Kurup; Editing by Kim Coghill)