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Australia, NZ: Shares track global peers lower on ECB official's hawkish remarks

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[BENGALURU] Australian shares dipped on Tuesday to close at their lowest in more than a week, after global equity markets fell on hawkish remarks by a European Central Bank official, fuelling expectations for stimulus cuts as the world economy improves.

Global equity markets eased on Monday and US Treasury yields surged to more than three-year highs, following the ECB official's comments.

"The quantitative easing premium coming out of Japan and Europe is helping global bond markets and is pushing bond yields higher," said Chris Weston, institutional lender at IG Markets.

"So effectively, when you look at the inflows, what you get from holding Australian financials with high yield becomes relatively less attractive."

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Mr Weston said stocks become less attractive when investors can get higher fixed-income yields.

The benchmark S&P/ASX 200 Index fell 52.6 points, or 0.9 per cent, to 6,022.8. It had added 0.4 per cent on Monday.

The Australian financial index closed down 0.6 per cent, with its biggest drag, Macquarie Group Ltd, losing 1.6 per cent.

Materials slipped and were the biggest weight on the benchmark, underpinned by a fall in Chinese iron ore futures. Global miner BHP Billiton dipped 1.3 per cent to a near four-week low, while rival Rio Tinto Ltd slid 0.7 per cent.

Hurt by a continued fall in oil prices, the energy index closed at its lowest in a week, with oil and gas company Woodside Petroleum Ltd dipping 2.2 per cent.

In New Zealand, the benchmark S&P/NZX 50 index declined 0.4 per cent, or 29.01 points, to 8,298.58.

Consumer staples led the decliners, with dairy firm a2 Milk Company Ltd falling 2.6 per cent.

REUTERS

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