| March 31
March 31 Australian shares were trading flat
with a downward bias on Friday as basic material and financial
stocks fell, but were still on track to log their best month
The S&P/ASX 200 index was down 0.2 percent at
5,883.3 in lacklustre trading at 0101 GMT. The index is on track
to log its best week since Nov. 25.
"It's the last day of the quarter. The market had a pretty
strong rally yesterday and it's just repositioning today," said
Bill Keenan, general manager equities and researcher at Lonsec.
Miner BHP BIlliton lost 0.3 percent while gold miner
Newcrest Mining declined 0.7 percent and was on track
for a fourth straight session of losses.
Dalian Commodity Exchange Iron ore futures erased gains on
Thursday, while gold dipped as the dollar strengthened.
Financial stocks, which had been gaining for the past six
sessions, fell on Friday with the 'Big 4' banks losing between
0.2 percent and 0.9 percent.
The Australian Competition and Consumer Commision (ACCC) on
Friday denied authorization for banks to collectively bargain
with Apple and boycott Apple Pay.
Meanwhile, banking watchdog Australian Prudential Regulatory
Authority said it would place limits on interest-only
residential loans to reinforce sound mortgage lending practices
in a hot property market.
Bendigo and Adelaide Bank, included in the ACCC
report, was up 0.8 percent.
Energy stocks in the region fell with Woodside Petroleum Ltd
losing 0.5 percent.
Among gainers, telecom and utility sectors rose as Telstra
Corporation Ltd gained nearly one percent and AGL
Energy Ltd added 1.8 percent.
New Zealand's benchmark S&P/NZX 50 index rose a
marginal 14.61 points to 7,183.72 and was set for its fourth
straight day of gains as consumer stocks rose.
Fletcher Building Ltd rose 0.8 percent, while a2
Milk Company Ltd added 1.4 percent.
For more individual stocks activity click on
(Reoprting by Susan Mathew in Bengaluru; additional reporting
by Christina Martin; Editing by Vyas Mohan)