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Australia: Shares skid to 3-week lows, miners pinned down by growth woes

[SYDNEY] Australian shares slipped to a three-week lows on Tuesday with some mining stocks pressured by further weakness in iron ore prices on persistent worries about global growth.

The S&P/ASX 200 index edged down 0.1 per cent, or 7.6 points, to 5,404.9 by 0225 GMT, having earlier dipped below 5,400.0 for the first time since Oct 24.

The benchmark index slid 0.8 per cent on Monday after data showed Japan unexpectedly fell into a recession.

Iron ore producer Fortescue Metal dropped 5 per cent to US$3.02 as iron ore futures traded on the Dalian Commodity Exchange fell 2.8 per cent to a record low of 493 yuan per tonne. Rio Tinto shed 0.4 per cent to US$59.69. "At the moment, you've got global growth concerns, you've got big economies around the world slowing down," said Stan Shamu, strategist at IG. "The big miners are continuing to struggle as we continue to see iron ore prices deteriorate. All up the commodities complex is just very lacklustre over the past few months and this has not driven any investors to feel the need to get into these stocks." Not helping confidence, data on Tuesday showed average new home prices in China's 70 major cities fell 2.6 per cent in October from a year earlier, the second consecutive month showing an annual fall.

The data came as Reserve Bank of Australia warned there was"considerable uncertainty" about the outlook for the Chinese property market and its impact on the Asian giant's economy.

Pacific Brand was a standout stock, jumping 4 per cent to A$0.515 after the clothing manufacturer said it had entered into agreements to sell its Brand Collective business for around A$39 million.

Faring slightly better, but still subdued, New Zealand's benchmark NZX 50 index drifted up 0.2 per cent to 5,502.1.


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