Australia shares barely move, NZ slips as IMF downgrade fuels caution
* IMF global growth downgrade rattles investors
* Miners slip as iron ore prices pull back from record highs
* No reason to buy stocks in current scenario - analyst
(Updates to close)
By Rashmi Ashok
April 10 (Reuters) - Australian shares were stuck in neutral
on Wednesday, with risk appetites taking a sharp hit after the
IMF downgraded its global growth forecast a third time since
October, rattling investors.
The International Monetary Fund said the U.S.-China trade
war and a disorderly Brexit were key risks, noting that the
global economy is slowing more than expected.
The downgrade came on the heels of flaring tensions between
the United States and Europe, with President Donald Trump
threatening to impose tariffs on $11 billion worth of EU
The S&P/ASX 200 index, largely unmoved for a second
session, inched up 0.03 percent or 1.7 points to 6,223.5 at the
Chris Weston, head of research at Pepperstone brokerage,
said there were no reasons for buying stocks at present and "no
catalyst across all geographies".
Instead, he said, there are "probably three or four very
big reasons to take profit off the top after a strong run".
Mining stocks ran out of steam as China's iron ore
futures pulled back from a record high and some investors booked
large profits following the sector's recent rally.
Benchmark heavyweight BHP Group slipped 0.4 percent
and Fortescue Metals Group fell 0.2 percent.
Blunting the losses among miners, gold stocks
advanced as gold prices hovered near a two-week peak, with
investors rushing to the safe-haven metal amid rising
Top miner Newcrest Mining rose 1.5 percent, while
Northern Star Resources and Saracen Mineral Holdings
Financial stocks rose 0.3 percent, after four losing
sessions, with biggest lender Commonwealth Bank of Australia
firming 0.7 percent and fund manager IOOF Holdings
up 1.9 percent.
"It is a bit of rotation out of material stocks, with money
coming into the financial space... we have seen a stronger
Westpac consumer confidence number, which is somewhat positive
for the banks," said Weston.
A survey showed the Melbourne Institute and Westpac Bank
index of consumer sentiment rose 1.9 percent in April, bouncing
modestly from one-year lows.
New Zealand's benchmark S&P/NZX 50 index fell 0.81
percent or 79.34 points to finish the session at 9,707.96.
Index heavyweight a2 Milk Company shed 0.7 percent.
(Reporting by Rashmi Ashok in Bengaluru; Editing by Richard
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