Australia shares extend falls, cautious on U.S.-China trade talks; NZ down
* Financials lead Aussie benchmark losses
* Gold stocks move up on prices
* NZ set to post first weekly drop in nine
By Aby Jose Koilparambil
April 5 (Reuters) - Australian shares dropped on Friday,
with financials leading the losses, as investors kept a watchful
eye on talks between the United States and China to resolve
their bitter trade dispute.
The S&P/ASX 200 index fell 0.7 percent to 6192 by
0042 GMT, extending a 0.8 percent fall on Thursday which
followed a seven-session winning streak.
The benchmark is on track for a 0.2 percent weekly gain.
U.S. President Donald Trump, who is meeting with Chinese
Vice Premier Liu He in Washington, said a trade deal with China
is at least a month away and some of the tougher points of a
deal had been agreed but there were still differences to be
China is Australia's largest trade partner, so the Sino-U.S.
trade talks have garnered lot of attention among investors of
Overall, the Australian market largely shrugged off
overnight gains on Wall Street, which rose chiefly on strong
local job data and hopes of a quicker resolution to the trade
deal before Trump's cautious comments gave investors pause.
"We had a good seven-day run and so there is a bit of profit
taking there. It is a Friday and given the macro risks and
geopolitics running around, you don't want to go in to the
weekend with too much exposure," said Mathan Somasundaram,
market portfolio strategist at Blue Ocean Equities.
About 90 percent of the 27 financial stocks in the benchmark
declined with the 'Big Four' banks dropping between 0.3 percent
and 1.1 percent.
The broader market losses were contained by metal stocks,
which were led higher by gold firms.
Gold inched higher as the dollar strengthened on the U.S.
jobs data with firms including Newcrest Mining Ltd and
Evolution Mining Ltd advancing 1 percent and 1.7
The world's largest miner and index heavyweight BHP Group
slipped 0.3 percent while rival Rio Tinto
gained 0.5 percent.
Higher oil prices helped the likes of Woodside Petroleum
and Oil Search Ltd gain about 0.5 percent
Across the Tasman Sea, New Zealand's benchmark S&P/NZX 50
index fell for a third straight day, dropping 0.8
percent to 9,814.09, and is set to post its first weekly loss
nine, snapping its best weekly winning streak since January
Retirement village operator Summerset Group Holdings Ltd
was the top percentage loser on the benchmark, sliding
as much as 7.4 percent, after the company said it was seeing
increased settlement times due to slowing property markets in
Auckland and Christchurch.
(Reporting by Aby Jose Koilparambil in Bengaluru
Editing by Shri Navaratnam)
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