November 13, 2018 / 6:10 AM / a month ago

REFILE-Australian shares pulled lower by banks, commodity firms; NZ also down

(Corrects company RIC for Rio Tinto in 8th paragraph)

* Westpac falls 5.4 percent, trades ex-dividend

* Technology stocks decline in line with Wall Street

* Financial and healthcare stocks drag NZ

By Shriya Ramakrishnan

Nov 13 (Reuters) - Australian shares tumbled on Tuesday, as banks and commodity stocks bore the brunt of a sell-off after a slide on Wall Street sapped global risk sentiment.

Most equity markets in Asia recouped some of their losses on media reports China’s top trade negotiator was preparing to visit the United States as investors watched for signs of a de-escalation in their trade war.

But selling in Australia failed to ease off, with the S&P/ASX 200 index closing down 1.8 percent or 5,834.20 points at its lowest in a week.

The benchmark rose 0.3 percent on Monday, though the broader market has lost ground this year on worries about slowing global growth, lower profits and a weakening Chinese economy - Australia’s biggest trading partner.

Financial stocks accounted for most of the index’s fall and lost 2.2 percent, with sector heavyweight Westpac Banking Corp giving up 5.4 percent, as it traded ex-dividend.

Fellow “big four” banks retreated between 1.2 percent and 1.5 percent.

Downbeat metals and mining stocks also dragged the market to close nearly 2 percent lower, hurt by softer iron ore prices.

The world’s biggest miner BHP Billiton declined 1.7 percent, while rival Rio Tinto fell 2.5 percent.

Energy stocks fell nearly 2 percent, reversing course after Monday’s gains, as oil prices fell after U.S. President Donald Trump called on the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) not to cut supply.

Healthcare stocks also reversed course to close lower at 2.6 percent, after four straight sessions of gains.

Hearing device maker Cochlear Ltd fell 4.2 percent. The company announced plans of investing up to A$21 million ($15.14 million)in Israeli-Belgium co Nyxoah S.A, which specilaizes in providing treatment for sleep disorder.

Technology stocks, declined 2.6 percent, in line with their peers on Wall Street. Wisetech Global and Computershare Ltd shed more than 3 percent each.

New Zealand’s benchmark S&P/NZX 50 index fell nearly 1 percent to finish the session at 8,861.52.

Westpac’s New Zealand shares led losses, down 5.5 percent. Ryman Healthcare Ltd fell 4.4 percent.

$1 = 1.3870 Australian dollars Reporting by Shriya Ramakrishnan in Bengaluru Editing by Shri Navaratnam

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