November 29, 2019 / 7:20 AM / 2 months ago

Australian shares slip on miners, trade worries; NZ up

* Benchmark’s biggest weekly gain since early Feb

* Nickel players pressure mining index

* Energy stocks buck trend (Updates to close)

By Nikhil Subba

Nov 29 (Reuters) - Australian shares ended a six-session winning streak on Friday, slipping from record highs hit earlier in the session, dragged by mining stocks and as Hong Kong tensions cast fresh uncertainty over a Sino-U.S. trade deal.

The S&P/ASX 200 index fell 0.3% to 6,846.00 at the close of trade, having touched an all-time peak of 6,893.70 earlier in the session.

In a thinly traded session, investors assessed China’s warning of “firm counter measures” to the United States after President Donald Trump signed legislation into place backing anti-government protesters in Hong Kong.

“Market will continue to wait for potential counter measures from China”, OCBC analysts said in a note to clients.

Equities around the globe had rallied earlier this week on optimism that the world’s two largest economies would seal an agreement to defuse their protracted tariff war.

Reflecting that, the Australian benchmark rose 2.03% this week, its biggest weekly gain since early February. The month of November was the index’s best since July.

However, on Friday, mining stocks fell 0.6%, hurt by lower prices for iron ore and base metals. Heavyweight Fortescue Metals Group finished almost 1% lower, while nickel miner Western Areas Ltd slumped 4.5%.

Gold stocks fell 0.7%, with Ramelius Resources shedding 2.4% and Silver Lake Resources ending the session 1.8% lower.

Prices for safe-haven gold have weakened this month as hopes for a preliminary U.S.-China trade deal buoyed demand for riskier assets.

Financial stocks fell about 0.5%, dragged by the “Big Four” banks, all of which ended the day lower.

Across the Tasman sea, New Zealand’s benchmark S&P/NZX 50 index rose about 1% or 109.3 points to finish the session at 11,316.58.

The benchmark posted a weekly gain of 3.4%, its biggest since early September, and marked its fourth straight week of gains.

Electricity retailer Trustpower and Fisher & Paykel Healthcare each closed about 3% higher. (Reporting by Nikhil Kurian Nainan and Nikhil Subba in Bengaluru; Editing by Aditya Soni)

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