December 20, 2018 / 1:24 AM / 6 months ago

Australian shares slip to 2-year low on Fed decision; NZ down

* U.S Fed raises rates & sees further hikes next year

* Gold stocks slump as precious metal falls on resurgent U.S. dlr

* MYOB tumbles as KKR lowers offer price

* NZ down; reports lowest qtrly economic growth in 5-years

By Nikhil Nainan

Dec 20 (Reuters) - Australian shares fell to their lowest level in two years on Thursday, tracking the decline in global stocks after the U.S. Federal Reserve raised rates and noted the need for further hikes year, defying expectations for a more dovish stance.

The S&P/ASX 200 index slipped by 0.1 percent to 5,576.3 at 0116 GMT, its lowest since December 2016. The benchmark had slipped 0.2 percent on Wednesday.

After weeks of market volatility ahead of the meeting, the Fed raised interest rates, as expected, but mostly kept its projection for more rate hikes next year, sending U.S. stocks sharply lower.

“That negative sentiment created by Wall street overnight with the Fed not being as dovish as some in the markets were hoping they would be, has floated through our markets today,” said Christopher Conway, senior investment advisor at Marcus Today.

However, Conway added that Australian markets were “outperforming U.S. markets from the overnight session” and could move closer to positive territory by the end of the day.

Gold stocks, which have gained for fourth straight session, look set to snap that momentum as the price of the precious metal fell on Wednesday after the U.S. dollar recovered following the Fed decision.

The Aussie gold sub-index fell 1.5 percent, with St Barbara and Evolution Mining down 3.5 percent and 2.4 percent, respectively.

Shares of accounting software firm MYOB Group tumbled more than 10 percent after said it could not recommend a downwardly revised offer by KKR & Co, which lowered its bid for the company..

Financial stocks wavered between positive and negative territory, a day after shareholders voted against the executive remuneration plans of two of Australia’s biggest banks, Australia and New Zealand Banking Group and National Australia Bank.

Shares of NAB and ANZ, were slightly lower at 0.1 percent and 0.3 percent, respectively, while the country’s largest bank, Commonwealth Bank of Australia gained 0.2 percent.

Energy stocks were poised to extend losses for a third consecutive session, falling 0.9 percent, despite a rebound in oil prices which have been in free-fall of late.

In New Zealand, the benchmark S&P/NZX 50 index edged 0.1 percent lower to 8,753.97.

The Pacific nation reported its weakest quarterly economic growth in five years as manufacturing, services and agriculture all slowed after showing surprising strength in the previous quarter.

Fletcher Building and exchange operator NZX Ltd dropped 1 percent each, while Freightways Ltd led the losses, down 2.9 percent.

For more individual stocks activity click on (Reporting by Nikhil Kurian Nainan in Bengaluru; Editing by Sam Holmes)

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