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Australia: Shares dip on trade talk uncertainties; New Zealand edges higher
[BENGALURU] Australian shares fell on Tuesday, tracking losses on Wall Street, as comments by US President Donald Trump over the weekend regarding trade talks with China dampened investor sentiment.
The S&P/ASX 200 index fell 0.4 per cent, or 27.7 points, to 6,744.8 by 0057 GMT. The benchmark rose 0.7 per cent on Monday to a more than three-month closing high.
On Saturday, US President Donald Trump said that while trade talks with China had moved slowly and that there had been incorrect reporting about US willingness to lift tariffs, which dampened sentiment in Wall Street overnight.
"Everyone is waiting for further developments on the trade front. Investors are just taking a wait and see approach at the moment," said Christopher Conway, senior investment adviser, Marcustoday financial newsletter.
Mr Trump is set to deliver a speech to the Economic Club of New York later in the day which will be closely watched for any developments on a planned Sino-US "phase one" trade deal.
The financial index shed 0.6 per cent, weighed down by a 3.6 per cent fall in Westpac Banking Corp as the stock trades ex-dividend.
Other "Big Four" banks traded higher following a quarterly update by the country's biggest lender Commonwealth Bank of Australia.
CBA reported a near 10 per cent drop in first-quarter cash profit and said margin pressure from record-low interest rates would persist. However, its shares rose as much as 1.1 per cent to a more than two-week high.
"What investors want to see is improvement in the recent data because everyone knows it is a tough trading environment and that is what CBA has delivered ... Their cash profit grew 5 per cent compared to the average of the last two quarters," Conway said.
With uncertainties surrounding the Sino-US trade talks weighing on commodities, Australian mining stocks fell, with the metals and mining index falling as much as 1.1 per cent, set for its worst day in nearly one month.
Fortescue Metals Group shed 2.8 per cent after cooling demand dragged iron ore prices to a more than two-month low.
Meanwhile, healthcare stocks came off a record high hit in the previous session to slip up to 0.8 per cent, with shares of CSL dropping as much as 1.2 per cent.
New Zealand's benchmark S&P/NZX 50 index edged marginally higher to 10,925.31.
Shares of utility firm Meridian Energy Ltd gained 1 per cent, while Spark New Zealand edged 0.9 per cent higher.