Australian shares gain, but in red for week despite modest relief for financials; NZ down
* Earlier losses among financials drag benchmark to weekly
* Financials mark 2nd session of gains
* NZ down 1.5 pct this week
(Updates to close)
By Nikhil Nainan
Oct 5 (Reuters) - Australian shares edged higher on Friday,
supported by gains from the scandal-hit financial sector which
managed to advance for a second session, but not enough to stop
the benchmark from a weekly loss.
The S&P/ASX 200 index closed 0.2 percent higher at
6,185.5. The benchmark is off 0.4 percent for the week, despite
gaining over the last two sessions, including a 0.5 percent rise
Financial stocks rose 0.4 percent, though for the
week the index lost 1.4 percent, reflecting relentless pressure
after a months-long inquiry revealed widespread misconduct in
The country's number two lender Westpac Banking Corp
rose 0.5 percent, while National Australia Bank
inched 0.2 percent lower.
"Given the risks involved, the share prices have fallen to
levels where in relation, the dividend yields are quite enticing
to investors for banks," said McCarthy, referring to the risks
posed by the Royal Commission outcomes.
"Banks have dividend yields of 8-10 percent currently and
interest rates close to 2 pct, some investors will see that as
Elsewhere, Wesfarmers received court approval for a
shareholder vote on the spin-off of its supermarket chain,
Coles. The conglomerates shares, which were on a trading halt
prior to the announcement, closed marginally higher.
Material stocks, which have lacked some direction
this week due to markets being closed in resource-hungry China,
inched 0.1 percent higher.
Rare-earth minerals miner Lynas Corp closed up 10
percent after the chief of an environmental review into the
company's Malaysian plant was quoted as sounding more
conciliatory than previously.
Concerns that the newly-elected government could close down
Lynas' plant sent shares skidding 27 percent last month.
In the energy space, Beach Energy closed down 3.7
percent, its lowest in over a week as the firm cut its fiscal
year 2019 production and core earnings guidance.
New Zealand's benchmark S&P/NZX 50 index dropped 0.5
percent or 42.31 points to finish at 9,214.87.
The benchmark lost 1.5 percent for the week.
Synlait Milk fell 5.7 percent, with index
heavyweights Air New Zealand and a2 Milk Company
down 1.7 percent and 1 percent, respectively.
(Reporting by Nikhil Kurian Nainan in Bengaluru
Editing by Shri Navaratnam)
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