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Australia: Shares fall as financials, materials weigh; NZ up


[BENGALURU] Australian shares lost ground on Monday, pressured by financials and material stocks, while equity investors globally remain cautious amid rising global bond yields in the wake of Republican Donald Trump's win in the US presidential elections.

Locally, the market is also waiting on a raft of data from China - Australia's major export market - including industrial output and retail sales due later this morning.

The S&P/ASX 200 index fell 0.6 per cent, or 34.64 points, to 5,336.10 by 0103 GMT.

Westpac Banking Corp and Australia and New Zealand Banking Group going ex-divided weighed on the index, falling 3.4 per cent and 2.2 per cent, respectively.

The ASX 200 Financials index was down nearly 1 per cent. "The two major banks going ex-dividend is heavily weighing on the index", said Tony Farnham economist with Patersons Securities.

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Other major losses in morning trade were led by BHP Billiton, down 1.3 per cent, and Newcrest Mining Ltd , slumping 6.1 per cent. "The move in materials and energy stocks to a large extent is a reflection of the sell-down in commodities that we saw on Friday", Farnham added.

Traders also noted that financial conditions globally had tightened on the back of rising bond yields in the wake of Trump's election, with the jump in yields on safe-haven US debt threatening to suck funds out of emerging markets. "Rising long term interest rates will provide share markets with another reason for caution," said Ric Spooner, chief market strategist at CMC markets.

In New Zealand, the benchmark S&P/NZX 50 index rose half a per cent or 36.04 points to 6,733.82.

A 7.8 magnitude earthquake that hit the South Pacific island nation early on Monday had forced the closure of many offices in the capital, with communication cut off in many areas.

However, stock exchange operator NZX decided to keep the local equities market open with staff working remotely.

Hundreds of aftershocks, the strongest measuring 6.1 magnitude, continued to shake the country well into mid-morning, after the initial quake struck minutes after midnight Telecom and material stocks gained the most on the index, with construction company Fletcher Building rising 3.7 per cent, while Spark New Zealand Ltd rose 2.3 per cent.

Fletcher is heavily involved in reconstruction work related to two big quakes a few years ago.

Rebuilding work post-quake has also supported the economy, and expectation is that more stimulus will be in the pipeline over coming months.

A number of property companies, like Kiwi Property Group and Argosy Property Ltd issued notices to the NZX saying they were engaging structural engineers to examine buildings for any damage.

Kiwi Property Group fell 0.4 per cent, while Argosy Property was down 0.5 per cent.


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