February 5, 2018 / 6:10 AM / in a year

Australia shares tumble on Wall Street slide; NZ ends at 3-week low

* Financial and material stocks weigh on Australian index

* NZ sheds more than 2 pct (Updates to close)

Feb 5 (Reuters) - Australian shares fell back on Monday, dragged down by financial and materials stocks and tracking Wall Street which tumbled on fears of resurgent inflation stoked by a strong jobs report.

The S&P/ASX 200 index slid 1.6 percent, or 95.2 points to 6026.2 at the close of trade. The benchmark rose 0.5 percent on Friday.

Financial stocks slipped 1.3 percent, with the ‘Big Four’ banks all losing over 1 percent each.

Miners fell 2.5 percent to their lowest close since December 29 with gold and copper prices slipping as the U.S. dollar strengthened on unexpectedly strong employment data.

U.S. job growth surged in January and wages recorded their largest annual gain in more than 8-1/2 years, bolstering expectations that inflation will push higher this year as the U.S. economy reaches full employment.

Index heavyweights BHP Billiton Ltd and Rio Tinto Ltd both shed over 2 percent to close at a five-week low.

The Australian gold index lost 2.6 percent, its lowest in more than three weeks.

The biggest drag on the main index was Resolute Mining Ltd , slumping 9.5 percent to hit a nearly 7-week closing low.

New Zealand’s benchmark S&P/NZX 50 index fell 2.1 percent, or 173.46 points, to a three-week closing low of 8241.83.

Healthcare, utility and consumer staple stocks weighed the index down, with Fisher & Paykel Healthcare Corporation Ltd slipping 3.5 percent to its lowest close since November 24, and Contact Energy Ltd losing 2 percent.

The top loser on the main index, however, was Kathmandu Holdings, down 3.8 percent, closing at its lowest in more than two weeks.

Reporting by Christina Martin in Bengaluru; Editing by Eric Meijer

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