May 5 Australian shares fell on Friday as miners
and energy stocks declined on lower metal and oil prices, while
investors remain watchful of U.S jobs data due later in the day.
The S&P/ASX 200 index was 26.01 points, or 0.44
percent, lower at 5,850.3 by 0306 GMT, on track to post its
worst week since early February. The index ended 0.3 percent
lower on Thursday.
Globally, investors will also be looking out for U.S.
employment data due later in the day. The Aussie dollar may be
knocked lower if the data disappoints, said Bill Keenan, general
manager of direct equities research at broker Lonsec.
The materials index was down for a ninth straight
session, holding at near six-month lows hit in the last few
sessions as iron ore futures tumbled 8 percent on Thursday and
on overnight losses in copper.
Miners BHP Billiton, Rio Tinto and
Fortescue Metals shed more than 2 percent each.
BHP Billiton was targetted by another shareholder push for
strategic reorganization, with Sydney-based Tribeca Global
Natural Resources Fund pressing the company to sell its U.S.
shale assets and to overhaul its board and senior management.
This comes after the miner had rejected shareholder Elliot
Management's proposal to spin off it U.S. oil division last
Rio Tinto had said on Thursday that it is watching for signs
of a revival in domestic iron ore mining in China later this
year to reduce reliance on imports because of the high prices of
The energy index was 1.8 percent lower with Woodside
Petroleum and Oil Search shedding 2 percent
after oil prices fell further on Friday on oversupply concerns.
Telecom stocks rose, with the telecom index up 3.6
percent after three sessions of losses.
Australia's competition watchdog said on Friday it will not
regulate the nation's mobile roaming market, in a favourable
draft ruling for the country's biggest telco, Telstra Corp Ltd
, which can keep rivals like TPG Telecom from
using its infrastructure.
Telstra shares were up as much as 5.4 percent, it highest
since April 11, while TPG Telecom lost as much as 4.6 percent,
it steepest intraday fall in more than two weeks.
Meanwhile, the U.S. House of Representatives narrowly
approved legislation on Thursday to replace major portions of
Obamacare with a Republican healthcare plan. It has yet to pass
Shares of healthcare stock CSL Ltd, which has
significant U.S. exposure, were up as much as 0.5 percent,
hitting an all-time high.
New Zealand's benchmark S&P/NZX 50 index was up 0.03
percent or 2.08 points at 7,380.5.
Fletcher Building Ltd led the gains, up 0.9
percent, while natural health product company Comvita Ltd
lost the most, falling 8.3 percent.
For more individual stocks activity click on
(Reporting by Susan Mathew in Bengaluru)