Australia shares post first weekly gain in four, property sector shines
(Updates to close)
Aug 23 (Reuters) - Australian shares posted their first
weekly gain in four weeks on Friday, as significant gains in
real estate firms pushed the benchmark higher although fears of
an impending global recession and the festering Sino-U.S. trade
spat kept investors cautious.
The S&P/ASX 200 index closed 0.3% higher at 6,523.10
and the benchmark gained over 1.8% for the week.
Most property stocks gained with the sector index
tacking on 2.3%.
Goodman Group finished more than 4% higher to stand
among the top percentage gainers on the benchmark after the firm
reported a more than a 48% jump in annual profit.
Underpinning positive sentiment in the real estate sector,
Dexus, Charter Hall Group and Mirvac Group
gained as much as between 1% and 3%.
"The softening of interest rates in Australia has been the
focus in the results commentary of most of the property groups,"
said James McGlew, executive director of stock broking at
McGlew added that the residential market is now receiving a
lot of attention from the government, which wants to stimulate
new growth in the sector.
Heavyweight financials gained about 0.2% in a
volatile session for the sector, with three of the "Big Four"
banks ending the session higher.
Overall gains, however, were capped by declines in the
mining sector, with gold stocks off for a sixth straight
Gold explorer Gold Road Resources ended more than
17% lower after slumping as much as 23%, its most in more than
nine years, after its shares were sold by a unit at a discounted
Gold Road was also the top percentage loser in the Metals
and Mining index, which closed down 0.2%.
Major gold firms Newcrest Mining and Evolution
Mining both dropped about a percent each.
Miner South32 Ltd fell to its lowest level since
March 2017, closing about 7% lower. The company on Thursday
reported a 25% drop in annual underlying profit.
The energy sector, which has largely propelled the
benchmark's weekly gains, finished the day with marginal gains.
New Zealand's benchmark S&P/NZX 50 index fell about
1% to 10,622.35, with polymer products maker Skellerup Holdings
Ltd and electricity retailer Meridian Energy Ltd
leading the losses, both finishing more than 4% lower.
(Reporting by Aby Jose Koilparambil in Bengaluru; Editing by
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