November 13, 2019 / 1:20 AM / 4 months ago

Australian shares edge lower on trade uncertainties; NZ up

* Miners under pressure

* Gold stocks offset some losses

* NZ central bank leaves rates unchanged

By Shreya Mariam Job

Nov 13 (Reuters) - Australian shares slipped slightly on Wednesday amid thin volumes as a lack of details on the Sino-U.S. trade deal from U.S. President Donald Trump’s much awaited speech overnight kept investors on the sidelines.

The S&P/ASX 200 index fell 0.2%, or 11 points, to 6,742.00 by 0052 GMT. The benchmark fell 0.3% on Tuesday.

Global markets had been on edge on Tuesday ahead of Trump’s speech to The Economic Club of New York expecting further developments on the trade deal.

However, Trump merely suggested that the negotiators were “close” to a “phase one” trade deal and emphasised that he would raise tariffs on Chinese goods “very substantially” if China does not make a deal with the United States.

“People are a little hesitant to know which direction to take at the moment,” said Doug Symes, senior client adviser, at Novus Capital citing uncertainties about the trade talks. Mining stocks dragged the index lower with the Australian metals and mining sub-index shedding as much as 0.9% to a more than one-week low.

Index heavyweights BHP Group and Rio Tinto shed 0.7% and 1.5%, respectively.

Data showed iron ore shipments to China from Australia’s Port Hedland terminal, the world’s biggest iron ore port, slipped 0.7% in October from a month earlier.

The world’s fourth-biggest iron ore miner Fortescue Metals Group also slid 1.8%.

Financial stocks dropped 0.3% with shares of the country’s top lender Commonwealth Bank of Australia shedding 0.8% after the company announced changes in the senior management of its wealth and mortgage units.

Westpac Banking Corp extended its fall, dropping as much as 0.8%.

Meanwhile, energy stocks dropped 1% with the top oil and gas producers Santos and Woodside Petroleum Ltd slipping 0.8% and 0.6%, respectively.

Gold stocks offset some of the losses on the benchmark with Resolute Mining and Regis Resources gaining 4% and 2.2%, respectively.

Across the Tasman sea, New Zealand’s benchmark S&P/NZX 50 index rose 0.4% or 47.84 points to 10,974.15.

New Zealand’s central bank left official cash rate unchanged at 1% at its last monetary policy decision of the year. This compares to wide expectations of a rate cut to 0.75% according to a Reuters poll.

Shares of Mercury NZ Ltd rose 2.6%, while those of Fletcher Building Ltd gained 0.4%.

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

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