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Australian shares edge lower; NZ down

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[BENGALURU] Australian share market slipped in subdued trading on Monday, as US-China trade tensions kept investors wary.

The S&P/ASX 200 index ended 0.1 per cent lower at 6,310.9, having fallen half a per cent on Friday.

Financial stocks were lower, despite local media reporting that Adelaide Bank and Suncorp Group raised their mortgage rates on Friday. Westpac Banking, the country's second-largest lender, led the way by deciding to rates earlier last week, and other banks are expected to follow.

Retail sales in July fizzled, suggesting a dent in consumer confidence and spending. Lending growth is at its weakest in more than four years, and measures of consumer confidence have remained subdued for more than a year now.

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Meanwhile, commodity prices faced pressure over renewed trade tensions between the world's two biggest economies, the United States and China, which in turn hurt material stocks.

Western Areas and Fortescue Metals Group dropped 6.5 per cent and 4.2 per cent, respectively.

On the other hand, a 16.7 per cent jump in Northern Star Resources sent its shares to a record high and helped the gold index rise 2.1 per cent, even though bullion prices dropped below US$1,200 an ounce.

The miner raised its gold output guidance for the 2019 financial year.

Fisher & Paykel Healthcare Corp topped the losses on New Zealand's benchmark S&P/NZX 50 index, which fell 0.6 per cent, or 55.91 points to finish the session at 9,257.29.

The medical device firm dropped 3.9 per cent, after it cut its fiscal 2019 profit net profit guidance, taking into consideration the legal costs associated with its patent battle with ResMed Inc.

In other news, Restaurant Brands New Zealand pared earlier losses to close marginally higher after it said it would let its licence deal with Starbucks Corp expire in October.

The fast-food group sold the Starbucks licence to Tahua Capital for NZ$4.4 million (S$4 million).

REUTERS