November 26, 2018 / 6:33 AM / 7 months ago

Oil, metal woes hurt Australian shares; NZ also down

* Resource stocks lead declines on softer base metal prices

* Energy stocks hit over 8-month low

* NZ benchmark on track for second straight session of losses (Updates to close)

By Shriya Ramakrishnan

Nov 26 (Reuters) - Australian shares were dragged lower on Monday by heavy losses for the mining and energy sectors, as a plunge in oil prices last week inflamed broader fears about slowing global growth and corporate earnings.

While Asian share markets put on modest gains thanks to signs of brisk U.S. holiday sales, a crucial meeting between U.S. and Chinese leaders at the end of this week tempered demand for riskier assets.

Australia’s S&P/ASX 200 index closed down 0.78 percent or 44.6 points at 5,671.60, after rising 0.4 percent on Friday.

Metals and mining stocks led declines with a near 3 percent slump to their lowest level in over seven months. Global miners BHP Billiton and Rio Tinto Ltd shed 3.6 percent each.

Rio Tinto announced plans to sell its entire stake in Rössing Uranium Ltd to China National Uranium Corp Ltd for up to $106.5 million.

Chinese iron ore futures tumbled nearly 6 percent, while copper and nickel prices also declined, on worries over weaker demand.

Those same concerns, as well as signs of a supply glut, sent oil prices plunging almost 8 percent on Friday. Prices steadied a little in Asian day though they did little to make up for last week’s rout.

The oil market woes dented energy stocks 2.5 percent to their lowest level since March, with sector heavyweights Santos Ltd down 4.7 percent and Oil Search Ltd declining 4 percent.

Financial stocks ended lower at the close of trade, as the ‘big four’ banks had little relief from a Royal Commission inquiry which this year revealed widespread misdeeds in the sector.

Lendor Macquarie Group Ltd fell 0.9 percent, while Westpac Banking Corp lost 0.4 percent.

New Zealand’s benchmark S&P/NZX 50 index slipped 0.45 percent to finish at 8,662.37.

Retirement village operator Ryman Healthcare Ltd declined nearly 4 percent, while dairy firm A2 Milk fell 3.1 percent. (Reporting by Shriya Ramakrishnan in Bengaluru Editing by Shri Navaratnam)

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