Australian shares flat amid caution ahead of U.S. earnings; NZ falls
* Energy stocks at over 2-week high as oil soars on supply
* Financials weigh on index
* Expected decline in U.S. earnings hits sentiment
(Updates to close)
April 9 (Reuters) - Australian shares were little changed on
Tuesday, with losses among financials erasing gains from energy
stocks, as investors remained cautious ahead of a looming U.S.
earnings season, which is expected to show U.S. corporate sector
The S&P/ASX 200 index climber just 0.4 points, or
0.01 percent, to 6,221.8 at the close of trade. The benchmark
rose 0.7 percent on Monday.
The S&P 500 and the Nasdaq edged into positive territory on
Monday, however, gains were held in check by falling industrials
as investors braced for what analysts now expect to be the first
quarter of contracting earnings since 2016.
"There is not a lot of conviction out of the U.S. market as
well as the Aussie market," said Christopher Conway, senior
investment advisor at Marcus Today.
"That is because of lot of macro issues, which are at play
including the U.S-China trade talks and the expectations of
decline in earnings per share during the U.S. reporting season,"
Financial slipped 0.3 percent, with the "Big Four"
banks losing between 0.2 percent and 0.8 percent, with top
lender Commonwealth Bank of Australia losing most among
Mining stocks ran out of steam and were little
changed after a 1.7 percent surge in the previous session,
shrugging off record high Chinese iron ore prices.
Top miners BHP Group and Rio Tinto staged
a lacklustre performance, edging up 0.2 percent and 0.1 percent
However, lithium miners such as Pilbara Minerals,
Galaxy Resources and Kidman Resources slipped,
offsetting BHP and Rio Tinto's marginal gains.
Energy stocks rose 2 percent to a more than 2-week
high, as oil prices hit fresh 5-month peaks due to OPEC-led
supply cuts and U.S. sanctions.
Oil Search jumped 2.3 percent after the company,
along with France's Total SA and Exxon Mobil,
signed a deal with Papua New Guinea to start work on a LNG
Crown Resorts, Australia's biggest casino firm,
closed 19.7 percent higher and was the top performer on the
index, after it said it was in talks with Las Vegas rival Wynn
Resorts about a potential A$10 billion ($7.13 billion)
New Zealand's benchmark S&P/NZX 50 index slipped 0.2
percent or 19.78 points to finish the session at 9,787.30. The
top loser was retirement village operator Summerset Group
Holdings, which slipped 3.8 percent.
($1 = 1.4017 Australian dollars)
(Reporting by Rashmi Ashok in Bengaluru; Additional reporting
by Aby Jose Koilparambil; Editing by Sam Holmes)
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