Jan 13 The Australian share market fell on
Friday, dragged down by financial stocks and tracking Wall
Street lower as investors booked profits, while rising base
metals and oil prices failed to boost miners and energy stocks.
The benchmark S&P/ASX 200 index fell 0.8 percent, or
44.154 points, to 5,722.7 by 0100 GMT. Trading volumes were 30
percent of the 30-day average. The index is on track for its
first weekly loss in four weeks.
Wall Street closed lower on Thursday, with financials
leading losses on the S&P 500, as investors waited for quarterly
earnings and details of U.S. President-elect Donald Trump's
economic policies ahead of his inauguration.
"There is a little bit of profit taking coming in for
financials ... There doesn't seem to be a risk-on at the
moment," said Gary Burton, market analyst at IG Markets.
"It's really a wait and see for the U.S. reporting to see
how that kicks off," Burton added
The local financials index shed as much as 1.5 pct,
its biggest drop in over five weeks, with the "Big Four" banks
losing between 1.7 percent to 2.0 percent each.
Energy stocks and miners pared early gains
and were flat to lower despite overnight gains in oil and most
Mining heavyweights Rio Tinto Ltd and BHP Billiton
Ltd were in negative territory along with Woodside
The biggest losers on the benchmark were nickel miners,
which plunged after Indonesia eased an export ban on nickel ore
and bauxite on Thursday. Western Areas Ltd
dived as much as 16.8 percent to a two-month low, while
Independence Group NL recorded its biggest percentage
fall in over eight months of 9.5 percent.
Gold stocks bucked the trend to rise to a near
two-month top, aided by a rise in bullion prices to their
highest in seven weeks on a weak dollar. Newcrest
Mining Ltd jumped as much as 2.7 percent to a more than
Organic baby formula maker Bellamy's Australia Ltd
extended its fall after it cut its revenue forecast and
appointed a temporary new CEO, making it third biggest loser on
the main index.
New Zealand's benchmark S&P/NZX 50 index fell 0.3
pct to 7,041.86, weighed down by utilities, telecom and
Telecom heavyweight Spark New Zealand Ltd and
Fletcher Building Ltd were among the top drags on the
(Reporting by Geo Tharappel in Bengaluru; Additional reporting
by Sindhu Chandrasekaran; Editing by Richard Pullin)