May 1Australian shares were flat on Monday as a
weak performance on Wall Street checked demand ahead looming
banking sector earnings and the Federal budget.
The S&P/ASX 200 index was 0.03 percent, or 1.764
points, lower at 5,921.8 by 0252 GMT. A decisive move lower
would end a seven-session winning streak. The benchmark was up
0.04 percent in the previous session.
Markets are "following the overseas lead," said Danial
Moradi, an equity strategist with Lonsec. The U.S. markets were
down on Friday after the "GDP number disappointed, and a lot of
the markets across Asia and Europe are closed for May day
holiday so volumes might be a bit weaker."
Wall Street edged lower on Friday as traders cashed in gains
after data showed the U.S. economy grew at its weakest pace in
three years in the first quarter.
"The banks' earning season and the budget on the 9th of May
are the key events over the next week or so. We'll probably see
the stocks drifting for the next few days until we see those
results and the budget."
For the 2017-18 financial year, the Australian government
will focus on economic growth and address the problem of
expensive housing, Treasurer Scott Morrison had said.
Among banks, Australia and New Zealand Bank and
National Bank of Australia will be reporting half-year
results this week.
On the day, the 'Big 4' banks were down between 0.1 percent
and 0.6 percent, pushing the financial index 0.2 percent
lower after five gaining days.
Basic material and energy stocks also lost ground with Rio
Tinto falling as much as 1.4 percent, and Fortescue
metals shedding 2.2 percent.
The energy index was down 0.8 percent with Woodside
petroleum and Oilsearch losing 0.3 percent and
1 percent respectively.
Among gainers, consumer stocks Wesfarmers Ltd rose
1.2 percent, while Woolworth's climbed 0.2 percent.
Industrial stocks led the gains on the index with Transurban
Group and Sydney Airport Holdings Ltd up 0.7
percent and 0.8 percent respectively.
New Zealand's benchmark S&P/NZX 50 index pared
earlier losses and was up 0.2 percent, or 15.79 points, to
7394.54 for its sixth straight session in the black.
A2 Milk Company gained more than 2 percent, while
Fisher & Paykel Healthcare rose nearly 1 percent.
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(Reporting by Susan Mathew in Bengaluru; Editing by Shri