April 29, 2019 / 1:34 AM / 3 months ago

Australian shares dip, weighed by energy, financial firms; NZ up

* Energy stocks drop to near two week low

* Investors cautious ahead of bank earnings

* Coles reports jump in Q3 supermarket sales

By Shreya Mariam Job

April 29 (Reuters) - Australian shares pulled back from a more than 11-year high on Monday, as a slump in oil prices weighed on energy stocks and investors remained cautious ahead of bank earnings later this week.

The S&P/ASX 200 index dropped 0.3 percent, or 21.4 points, to 6,364.2 by 0059 GMT and looked set to snap four consecutive sessions of gains. The benchmark edged 0.1 percent higher on Friday.

A 3 percent decline in oil prices on Friday dented energy stocks with the subindex posting a 1.5 percent fall to hit its lowest level since April 18.

Michael McCarthy, chief market strategist at CMC Markets, said the outlook for growth remained constrained with investors nervous after the index hit multi-year highs last week.

Investors also remain wary ahead of the bank earnings later this week, with two of the big four banks scheduled to report their first half results.

“Banks are a very substantial part of the Australian index. There has been a lot of talk around (bank earnings) with a couple of reports over the weekend saying that the earnings might disappoint. That of course is affecting the selling we are seeing today,” McCarthy added.

Shares of Australia and New Zealand Banking Group and National Australia Bank Ltd dipped 0.7 percent and 0.8 percent, respectively.

Elsewhere, Australia’s second-largest grocery chain Coles Group posted a rise in quarterly sales at its supermarkets in their first post-demerger earnings.

Shares of the retailer rose as much as 0.8 percent to its highest since early February, while its larger competitor Woolworths Group dropped as much as 0.8 percent.

Meanwhile, an uptick in gold prices supported the Australian gold index, which rose 1.9 percent to a near two week high.

Gold miner St Barbara firmed 2.3 percent, while Resolute Mining strengthened 2.8 percent.

Across the Tasman, New Zealand’s benchmark S&P/NZX 50 index up 0.5 percent or 52.13 points to 10,046.70 helped by consumer and telecom stocks.

New Zealand-listed shares of A2 Milk Company gained 1.7 percent, while Spark New Zealand firmed 2.1 percent.

Reporting by Shreya Mariam Job in Bengaluru; Editing by Sam Holmes

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