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Australia: Shares down slightly, investors await news on Greece

Monday, June 22, 2015 - 10:42
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Pedestrians are reflected in the window of the Australian Stock Exchange in Sydney on May 18, 2015.

[SYDNEY] Australian shares edged down 0.2 per cent on Monday, with losses in the mining and financial sectors, but investors were cautious after Greece made a new offer to creditors in a last-ditch bid to stave off a debt default.

The S&P/ASX 200 index fell 10.594 points to 5,586.400 by 0109 GMT. The benchmark rose 1.3 per cent on Friday, posting a second week of gains. "Investors are awaiting any news on what might happen regarding Greece, that's the main focus at the moment," said Shane Oliver, head of investment strategy at AMP Capital Investors.

The head of the Bank of Greece warned bankers last week to brace for a "difficult day" on Tuesday if the Athens government does not reach a deal with creditors at an emergency euro zone summit on Monday, two senior bankers told Reuters.

Mining led losses with OZ Minerals down 5.3 per cent and South 32 down 3.3 per cent.

Financials also fell heavily, with IOOF Holdings dropping 18.6 per cent on a media report that it is facing allegations of misconduct. IOOF said all issues had been dealt with appropriately and denied any issues would cause any loss to its clients.

For more individual stocks activity click on New Zealand's benchmark NZ50 share index was little changed at 5,782.93, as gains in dairy-related shares were offset by a slide in utility and telecommunication sectors.

A2 Milk Company jumped roughly 20 per cent to a one-year high of NZ$0.720 after the specialised dairy processor said it had received a takeover approach.

Its gains lifted other dairy companies, with the Fonterra sharetrading fund rising 3.7 per cent to NZ$5.05, extending its recovery from a lifetime low of NZ$4.58 hit last week.

But those gains failed to create any meaningful, upward traction in the overall index as energy retailer Mighty River Power fell 2 per cent to an eight-month low of NZ$2.58 while Genesis Energy eased 1.6 per cent.

Telecommunications wholesaler Chorus slipped 1.3 per cent.

REUTERS