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Australia shares lower on Trump migration row; NZ down


[BENGALURU] Australia shares saw broad-based losses on Monday after three sessions of gains as news of US President Donald Trump's travel ban on people from several predominantly Muslim countries put investors on the back foot.

Mr Trump sparked a backlash in the United States and abroad after he put a 120-day hold on allowing refugees into the country, an indefinite ban on refugees from Syria and a 90-day bar on citizens from Iran, Iraq, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria and Yemen.

The S&P/ASX 200 index fell 1.1 per cent to 5,650.2, tracking US equity index futures, which opened down about 0.2 per cent on Sunday.

US shares have been soft in the past two consecutive sessions on some unsatisfactory corporate earnings and weaker than expected economic data.

"We didn't expect to see the market down one per cent," said Chris Weston, an institutional dealer at IG Markets.

"This suggests that the markets are starting to get a little bit more nervous about Trump's protectionist policies and their potential impact on global trade; not to mention the controversy around the policies and the fact the world seems to be uniting in some sort of condemnation."

Losses were led by basic materials as investors booked profits.

The Australian mining and basic materials indexes, which gained 4.4 per cent and 4 per cent respectively last week, lost more than one per cent each in early trade.

Mining majors BHP Billiton, Fortescue Metals , and Rio Tinto fell in a range of 1.3 per cent to 1.6 per cent, but gold miners remained resilient as gold prices inched up.

Newcrest Mining, the biggest gold miner by market value rose 0.4 per cent after reporting flat gold production for the quarter, although it was 2 per cent higher on a continuing operations basis.

Energy shares fell with oil prices weighed down by growing US output.

Oil and gas majors Santos Ltd, Oil Search, and Woodside Petroleum lost in a range of 1.1 per cent to 1.4 per cent.

The biggest percentage loser on the main index, however, was Aconex Ltd, which plunged 30 per cent to an 18-month low after the software services provider cut its full-year outlook.

New Zealand's benchmark index fell 0.5 per cent, or 37.17 points, to 7097.09.

Loss were broad-based with the exception of consumer staples.

Telecom services, healthcare and financial stocks were the biggest drag on the benchmark with Chorus Ltd down 3 per cent.

Healthcare stocks Fisher & Paykel Healthcare Corp and Metlifecare, down 2.3 per cent and 1.6 per cent respectively, also among the biggest losers.


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