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Australian shares slide to near 4-month low as ANZ falls; NZ down


[BENGALURU] Australian shares ended near a four-month low on Monday, with ANZ sliding as the bank counted the costs of poor banking practices on its earnings, and material and energy stocks also dragged on the broader market.

The S&P/ASX 200 index dropped 1.4 per cent to close at 6,100.3 points, its lowest since June 15, after adding 0.2 per cent on Friday.

The financial sector fell 1.3 per cent, led by Australia and New Zealand Banking Group which closed down 2.6 per cent and also near a four-month low.

ANZ, the country's No 3 lender, said it would take a A$711 million (S$695.1 million) hit to full-year profit due to higher costs, including compensation for customers stung by poor bank practices.

Months of public hearings into financial industry misconduct has weighed on the banking sector and forced the banks to set aside cash to restructure their businesses, pay for legal costs, defend lawsuits and compensate customers.

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The remaining three of the Big Four banks were all in the red, down between 1.3 per cent and 0.9 per cent.

Material stocks were hit by a slump in aluminium prices after a Brazilian court approved emergency waste measures that could allow the world's biggest alumina refinery to resume production.

Alumina Ltd and South32 were among the biggest losers, down 6.9 per cent and 5.4 per cent, respectively.

Global miners BHP and Rio Tinto also came under pressure, falling 2.8 per cent and 1.6 per cent.

After the United States announced it may grant waivers to sanctions on Iranian oil exports, which are scheduled to take effect next month, Brent crude oil prices fell 1 per cent, dragging the Australian energy index lower.

Beach Energy and Santos Ltd fell 5.9 per cent and 2.1 per cent.

New Zealand's benchmark S&P/NZX 50 index fell 0.7 per cent or 67.77 points to finish the session at 9,147.1.

Locally-listed shares of ANZ fell 2.4 per cent, while Kathmandu Holdings was the biggest percentage loser, down 2.8 per cent.


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