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Australia: Shares falter on China growth woes


[SYDNEY] Australian shares slipped again on Tuesday, their third consecutive drop, on worries about the global fallout of slowing growth in China, with banks leading declines.

Sentiment was weak after US stocks began 2016 sharply lower, with the Dow marking its worst start to a year since 2008, after weak Chinese economic data fanned fears of a global slowdown.

By 0139 GMT, the S&P/ASX 200 index skidded 0.9 per cent, or 51.48 points to a one-week low of 5,219.0. It fell 0.5 per cent on Monday.

New Zealand's benchmark index S&P/NZX50 fell as much as 1.4 per cent on the first trading day of the year after a four-day holiday weekend. "The New Year has not been kind to local traders," said Chris Conway, Head of Research at Australian Stock Report. "If we're being totally fair, the market is simply giving back some of the contrived Santa Claus gains we saw towards the end of last year." The Australian market jumped 2.5 per cent to a two-month high in December following a nine-day rally. However, it ended the year more than 2 per cent down as slumping iron ore and metal prices hit blue chip mining stocks, while stringent capital rules hurt the heavyweight banking sector.

The New Zealand exchange soared 13.5 per cent in 2015.

All sectors traded in the red on Tuesday with financials weighing the most on the index. The "Big Four" banks - CBA , National Australia Bank, ANZ and Westpac - were down 0.8-1.5 per cent. Top investment bank Macquarie fell more than 1 per cent.

Healthcare stocks such as Sirtex Medical fell more than 4 per cent after Morningstar cut its rating on the stock to reduce from hold. Other healthcare stocks such as Mayne Pharma and Japara were also trading weak.

Gold miners such as Newcrest Mining, Oceanagold and Evolution Mining gained 2.5-6.7 per cent.

China stocks opened lower on Tuesday, the day after a 7 per cent plunge in mainlaind shares roiled global market and prompted regulators to suspend domestic trade.

For more individual stocks activity click on By 0139 GMT, the New Zealand benchmark traded 0.7 per cent lower at 6,277.16.

The biggest gainers were small-cap Wynyard Group, up 4.9 per cent after it said it signed an agreement to provide an unnamed national security bureau with software and services.

Steel & Tube was up 2.2 per cent in early trading. In the other direction, Xero was down 6.3 per cent. Trade remained very thin with many market players still on holiday.