(Updates to close)
July 7 (Reuters) – Australian shares extended their losses
to a third consecutive session on Friday, weighed by the
financial sector, as U.S. stocks slipped overnight after
disappointing labour market data.
The S&P/ASX 200 index dipped about a percent or
55.16 points to 5,703.60 at the close of trade. The declines
were broad-based, with nine out of 10 sectors in the red. The
benchmark was down 0.3 pct for the week.
Wall Street fell after data showed U.S. private employers
had hired fewer workers than expected in June and applications
for unemployment benefits last week rose for a third straight
week, pointing to some loss of momentum in job growth.
Financial stocks were the biggest drag on the Australian
index with the “Big Four” banks – Westpac, Commonwealth
Bank of Australia, National Australia Bank and
Australia and New Zealand Banking Group – all slipping.
Sentiment in the market was also dented by oil prices which
fell by more than 1 percent with U.S. crude futures dipping
below $45 per barrel as news of a spike in U.S. production added
to earlier reports that OPEC output was also on the rise.
Oil major Woodside Petroleum closed down 2.6
New Zealand’s benchmark S&P/NZX 50 index edged down
0.1 percent or 7.48 points to finish the session at 7,622.13.
Telecom sector was the biggest drag, hurt by Spark New
Zealand which fell more than 1 percent.
(Reporting By Shashwat Pradhan in Bengaluru; Editing by Himani