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Australia shares slip on US uncertainty; NZ up despite earthquake


[BENGALURU] Australian shares closed lower on Monday, hurt by weaker material and financial stocks, as uncertainties surrounding US economic policies following Donald Trump's election kept some investors on the sidelines.

The S&P/ASX 200 index ended 25.03 points or 0.47 per cent lower at 5,345.7.

Gold company Resolute Mining was the biggest loser on the benchmark, after gold prices declined one per cent.

Local gold index fell 8 per cent to its lowest in five months, with gold companies accounting for most of the losses in the materials sector.

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Local metals index slipped 2.1 per cent, with BHP Billiton and Fortescue Metals both down 0.8 per cent each.

Forex services provider Ozforex Group gained 5.9 per cent.

New Zealand's benchmark S&P/NZX 50 index rose 39.98 points or 0.59 per cent to finish at 6,737.7, despite devastating earthquakes on the South Island that killed at least two people.

Materials outperformed other sectors. Fletcher Building was the biggest percentage gainer, up 4 per cent, and entertainment company Sky City rose 2.5 per cent.

Fonterra, the world's biggest dairy exporter, fell 0.17 per cent after it said some farms were without power, following the earthquake, and would likely have to dump milk.