| March 14
March 14 Australian shares steadied on Tuesday
ahead of the U.S. Federal Reserve's two-day meeting, with gains
in materials stocks offsetting losses in financials and
The S&P/ASX 200 index slid 0.03 percent, or 2.75
points, to 5,754.60 points by 0151 GMT.
Investors were hesitant to take big bets ahead of the U.S.
Federal Reserve's meeting that starts later on Tuesday. The Fed
is widely expected to hike interest rates.
"I don't think the Australian market is going to move
strongly until we get the Fed decision," said Christopher
Conway, head of research and trading at Australian Stock Report.
The S&P 500 finished flat at 0.04 percent, while the
Nasdaq Composite and Dow Jones Industrial Average
closed marginally higher overnight.
In Australia, financials stocks reversed early gains with
the 'Big Four' banks falling between 0.1 percent and 0.7
Healthcare stocks were the second biggest losers on the
index, with biotherapeutics company CSL Ltd shedding
0.6 percent and medical device company Sirtex Medical Ltd
losing 1 percent.
The metals and mining index rose as much as 1.9
percent after Shanghai steel rallied on Monday.
Shanghai rebar steel futures rose nearly 6 percent on Monday
helped by an improvement in seasonal demand in China, which also
lifted Chinese iron ore from a one-month low.
Global miner BHP Billiton Ltd gained 1.4 percent,
snapping five sessions of losses. Rio Tinto Ltd rose
Energy stocks were the second biggest gainers on the index,
with Origin Energy Ltd and Oil Search Ltd
gaining 3.5 percent and 0.9 percent, respectively.
Crude oil prices hovered near three-month lows on Tuesday in
early Asian trading as investors await key reports and data that
may shed light on a supply overhang in the global market.
New Zealand's benchmark S&P/NZX 50 index was flat
after hitting a five-month high, helped by gains in consumer
staples and telecom stocks. The index was down 6.41 points, or
0.1 percent, to 7,188.38 points by 0152 GMT.
A2 Milk Company Ltd gained 1.9 percent, while Spark
New Zealand Ltd climbed 0.4 percent.
Industrials and utilities stocks declined, with Auckland
International Airport Ltd shedding 1.3 percent and
Mercury NZ Ltd declining 2.1 percent.
(Reporting by Sindhu Chandrasekaran; Additional reporting By
Krishna. V. Kurup; Editing by Randy Fabi)