Dec 29 Australian shares slid on Thursday,
dragged down by real estate stocks, after Wall Street tumbled in
a broad selloff.
The S&P/ASX 200 index inched lower 0.1 percent, or
6.3 points, to 5,678.7 by 0119 GMT. The benchmark rose 1 percent
on Wednesday to its highest close since August 2015.
Volumes were thin at around 17 percent of the 30-day
Global sentiment remained gloomy as Wall Street slid on the
back of a sharp drop in home resales and as worries in Europe
about rescue plans for shaky Italian banks drove the gap between
benchmark U.S. 10-year notes and their German counterparts to
the widest ever.
Contracts to buy previously owned U.S. homes fell in
November to their lowest in nearly a year, a sign that rising
interest rates could be weighing on the housing market, said the
National Association of Realtors.
"Now, particularly with commercial properties, yields are
not looking as attractive, and as rates rise more, people look
at cash rather than holding it in a property trust. So the rise
in interest rates make them a victim of monetary policy," said
James McGlew, executive director of corporate stockbroking at
Real estate investment trusts Vicinity Centres Re Ltd
and Dexus Property Group were the biggest
drag, down as much as 3.6 percent and 3.3 percent respectively.
Industrials also took a beating with Transurban Group,
down about 2.7 percent to a four-week low, joining the
Financial sector heavyweight Westpac Banking Corp
and Australia's biggest bank by market capitalisation
Commonwealth Bank of Australia lost around 0.4 percent
Bucking the trend, gold stocks climbed with the ASX All
Ordinaries Gold Index up as much as 4 percent to hit its
highest in more than two weeks.
New Zealand's benchmark S&P/NZX 50 index inched up
0.2 percent or 12.1 points to 6887.88.
Air New Zealand Ltd was among the top percentage
gainers on the benchmark, rising 2.1 percent.
Retirement village operator Ryman Healthcare Ltd,
gained 1.2 percent.
At the other end, Comvita was among the biggest
losers, sliding 1.2 percent.
(Reporting by Hanna Paul in Bengaluru; Additional reporting by
Sindhu Chandrasekaran; Editing by Eric Meijer)