Feb 3 Australian shares were little changed on
Friday on a lack of conviction after an unspiring performance on
Wall Street, with lingering anxiety over U.S. President Donald
Trump's aggressive posture on trade and international relations
U.S. stocks ended little changed on Thursday after Trump
said he would like to speed up talks to either renegotiate or
replace the North American Free Trade Agreement with Canada and
Trump's policy priorities, especially those on restricting
immigration and rewriting trade deals, have jolted global
markets in recent weeks and sharply curtailed risk appetite.
The S&P/ASX 200 index was up a touch by 0.1 percent
or 5.866 points to 5651.3 around 0116 GMT. The benchmark ended
0.14 percent lower on Thursday.
While investors will look to U.S. nonfarm payrolls data due
later in the global day for clues on Federal Reserve policy
outlook, Tony Farnham, an economist at Patersons Securities,
said: "Markets are not getting too excited ahead of the U.S
jobs data tonight."
At home, while falls in materials and energy stocks hampered
the market, James Hardie, the world's biggest maker of
fibre cement home panelling took a hammering after a
It was the worst performer on the main index, slumping 3.8
percent to its lowest in over two months and marked the biggest
loss for the stock in over nine months after reporting a 6
percent fall in third-quarter profit and lowered its full-year
The metals and mining index fell 0.8 percent on
profit-taking after two sessions of gains.
Top miners BHP Billiton and Rio Tinto were
down over 1 percent each while Fortescue Metals lost
The materials index dropped 0.9 percent.
Gold stocks, however, gained following a 11-week high in
gold prices on growing concerns of uncertainty after the U.S.
Federal Reserve's latest statement gave no clear signal on when
its next rate hike would come.
OceanaGold was the biggest gainer on the gold index
, soaring 11.2 percent for its biggest percentage gain in
more than 7 months.
The energy index took a breather from its rally in
the previous session, falling 0.4 percent as oil prices edged
lower on Thursday after investors downplayed the tensions
between the United States and Iran.
Woodside Petroleum slipped 1.1 percent.
New Zealand's benchmark S&P/NZX 50 index rose 0.45
percent or 32.31 points to 7085.85 with healthcare, telecom and
utility stocks leading the gains.
Fisher & Paykel Healthcare added 2.1 percent while
Genesis Energy rose 1.4 percent.
(Reporting by Christina Martin; Additional reporting by Susan
Mathew in Bengaluru; Editing by Shri Navaratnam)