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Australia shares cautious on weak global sentiment; NZ falls

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[BENGALURU] Australian shares were trading cautiously on Tuesday as global markets lost some momentum, while gains in financials and materials provided some support.

The S&P/ASX 200 index rose 0.1 per cent, or 8.1 points, to 5,472.5 points by 0059 GMT, making a comeback after falling 0.2 per cent in early trade.

US stocks declined on Monday for their worst performance in nearly a month, weighed down by a pullback in the financial and consumer discretionary sectors as some investors booked profits after a record-setting week. The three major US indexes had closed higher for the third week in a row on Friday.

The pan-European FTSEurofirst 300 index fell 0.85 per cent, while MSCI's global gauge of stocks fell 0.28 per cent.

"The weak global market sentiment is likely to deliver another negative day...EU worries and US uncertainties remain an overhang," Mathan Somasundaram, a quantitative strategist with Baillieu Holst, said in a note.

He noted that European Union issues would return to investor attention this week with Italy's constitutional referendum, which could see the government resign, and Austria's presidential election both to be held on Sunday December 4.

The "Big Four" banks were trading in positive territory, with Commonwealth Bank of Australia up 0.8 per cent.

Gold mining giant Newcrest Mining climbed 1.2 per cent as gold prices rose more than 1 per cent after the US dollar and long-dated US Treasury bond yields retreated from recent highs.

Iron miner Fortescue Metals Group rose as much as 3 per cent to its highest in over five years.

Chinese steel futures jumped to the highest in 31 months, as investors raised bets that strong property and infrastructure investment will sustain demand in the world's top consumer, spurring a similar rally in iron ore and zinc.

Consumer staples and telecom stocks were the biggest drag, with Vocus Communications falling 15.8 per cent, and Wesfarmers Ltd sliding 0.4 per cent.

New Zealand's benchmark S&P/NZX 50 index fell 0.3 per cent, or 18.2 points, to 6,884.7.

Healthcare stocks were among the losers with Orion Health Group falling for a ninth straight session to its record low. On Monday, company reported an operating loss for the first half of FY2017.

Skincare company Trilogy International fell as much as 8.6 per cent to its lowest since November 1, after the company said the market in China has the potential to be unpredictable.

REUTERS