Australia shares tumble on Wall Street; NZ slips

By Shashwat Pradhan

July 7 (Reuters) – Australian shares slumped more than 1
percent on Friday with strong declines in the financial sector,
after U.S. labour market data overnight clashed with the
possibility of a more hawkish Federal Reserve.

The S&P/ASX 200 index fell 1.4 percent, or 77.56
points to 5,681.2 by 0141 GMT. The declines were broad-based
with all sectors in the red.

“The U.S. market was down 1 percent so the Aussie markets
are going to follow,” said Mathan Somasundaram, Market Portfolio
Strategist at Blue Ocean Equities.

“We are going to have choppy markets for at least a month
before the reporting season. We will probably have a run at the
end of the month but that will come off at the end of the
season.”

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 increased for a third
straight week, pointing to some loss of momentum in job
growth.

Investors also turned their focus to a summit of G20 nations
after this week’s test of a long-range missile by North
Korea.

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
more than 1 percent.

In other sectors, materials fell after Australia revised
down the value of its resources and energy export earnings in
the year to end-June 2017 by 4.6 percent, or nearly A$10 billion
($7.6 billion), due largely to falling prices for iron ore, its
most valuable export.

Mining giant Fortescue Metals Group declined as
much as 4.9 percent to post its biggest intra-day percentage
fall in six weeks.

Among the other big losers was biopharma giant CSL Ltd
which fell 2.1 percent and Woodside Petroleum
which was trading 2.2 percent lower.

Bauxite miner Alumina Ltd rose as much as 2.5
percent to hit a near 2-1/2 year high before shedding all the
gains.

Aluminium prices retreated in early Asian trading on Friday
after recording strong gains overnight, with investors focusing
on robust global supply.

New Zealand’s benchmark S&P/NZX 50 index slid 0.4
percent or 32.2 points to 7,597.43.

Telecom company Spark New Zealand was the biggest
drag, falling 1.4 percent.

In other stocks, Xero Ltd fell 2.8 percent while a2
Milk Ltd slipped 1.5 percent.

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(Reporting By Shashwat Pradhan in Bengaluru; additional
reporting by Hanna Paul; Editing by Stephen Coates)


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