Oct 13 Australian shares pulled back on Thursday
after an uninspiring session on Wall Street overnight and as
minutes from the last Federal Reserve meeting suggested
policymakers were on track to raise interest rates by December.
The S&P/ASX 200 index slipped 23.02 points, or 0.4
percent to 5451.6 by 0008 GMT.
"Several members judged that it would be appropriate to
increase the target range for the federal funds rate relatively
soon if economic developments unfolded about as ... expected,"
the Fed said in the minutes.
While minutes of the Sept. 20-21 meeting didn't shake market
expectations for the next Fed rate hike to occur in December,
they also showed the depth of division over timing.
"The minutes were sort of mixed, as there was still a
majority that did not want a raise at that time and post that
meeting result in September the payrolls have come in a lot more
lower than expected," said Will Keenan, General Manager of
Direct Equities Research at Lonsec.
Market sentiment was also affected by declines in oil prices
on Wednesday after OPEC reported its September oil output hit
eight-year highs, offsetting optimism over the group's pledge to
bring a global crude glut under control.
Oil Search Ltd fell 1.5 percent while Origin Energy
was down 1.4 percent, dragging the energy index
Global miners BHP Billiton Ltd and Rio Tinto Ltd
lost 1.4 percent and 1.8 percent, respectively.
Rare earths miner Iluka Resources Ltd fell as much
as 2.5 percent, touching a three-week low, after reporting a
decline in September-quarter mineral sands production.
Healthcare stocks were also pressured. Sonic Healthcare
shed 1 percent while blood-products maker CSL Ltd
slipped as much as 1.6 percent, its biggest intra-day
percentage fall in a month.
Bucking the trend, gold stocks climbed 1 percent
after the yellow metal held modest gains on Wednesday.
Gold miner Evolution Mining was among the top gainers
on the index, up 2.6 percent.
New Zealand's benchmark S&P/NZX 50 index ticked up
0.3 percent, or 23.99 points, to 7131.45, supported by materials
and telecom stocks, which accounted for more than half of the
Fletcher Building was the top gainer on the benchmark,
rising as much as 3.9 percent - its biggest single day
percentage gain in eight weeks. Spark New Zealand rose
For more individual stocks activity click on
(Reporting by Shashwat Pradhan; Additional Reporting by Justin
George Varghese in Bengaluru; Editing by Shri Navaratnam)