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Australia shares fall as miners, energy stocks hurt; NZ flat

Wednesday, November 30, 2016 - 09:50
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Australian shares edged lower on Wednesday, shrugging off a positive lead from Wall Street, as falling oil and metal prices hit miners and energy stocks.

[BENGALURU] Australian shares edged lower on Wednesday, shrugging off a positive lead from Wall Street, as falling oil and metal prices hit miners and energy stocks.

The S&P/ASX 200 index was down 0.2 per cent or 10.3 points to 5,446.6 by 0101 GMT. The benchmark closed 0.1 per cent lower on Tuesday.

Australian energy stocks fell as much as 1.3 per cent, extending losses to a third straight session. "What happens around OPEC tonight will be quite interesting, the Brent price is saying that the likelihoodness of deal is low," said Evan Lucas, market strategist at IG Markets.

Oil slumped about 4 per cent on Tuesday, with Iran and Iraq at loggerheads with Saudi Arabia a day ahead of Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries' meeting for a deal to cut production.

Woodside Petroleum Ltd was among the top drags on the main index, while Oil Search Ltd touched a two-week low.

Miners weighed most on the index, shedding as much as 2.5 per cent.

Copper, lead and zinc were sold off on Tuesday on the view that a post-US election rally had become overstretched, while a rally in steel and iron ore prices was stemmed after Chinese exchanges imposed curbs to tame speculative trade.

Mining giants BHP Billiton Ltd and Rio Tinto Ltd shed more than 3 per cent each and were the top two drags on the index.

Iron ore miner Fortescue Metals Group Ltd recorded its biggest intraday fall in three weeks, falling 5.3 per cent.

Financials cushioned some of the pressure on the benchmark index, ticking up 0.7 per cent.

The "Big Four" banks were the top gainers by index points, rising between 0.5 and 1.2 per cent.

New Zealand's benchmark S&P/NZX 50 index eased 0.04 per cent to 6,898.68 at 0101 GMT, with gains in telecom and industrials being offset by real estate stocks.

Real estate stocks dropped after New Zealand's central bank said on Wednesday that the housing and dairy sectors face risks that may warrant yet tighter lending rules.

Building materials maker Fletcher Building Ltd was the worst performer on the index falling close to 3 per cent.

Telecom company Spark New Zealand Ltd jumped as much as 2.4 per cent to a four-week high after it announced that its unit established a NZ$125 million ($89.19 million) committed revolving facility with Westpac New Zealand.

REUTERS