Australian shares lower on U.S. growth concerns; NZ up
* Financials, miners weigh on Aussie benchmark
* Bank of Queensland falls post disappointing H1 results
* NZ stocks set to snap 6-session losing run
By Aby Jose Koilparambil
April 11 (Reuters) - Australian shares struggled on
Thursday, weighed down by financials and miners, as minutes from
the U.S. Federal Reserve's last meeting raised concerns about
growth in the world's largest economy.
The S&P/ASX 200 index dropped 0.4 percent to
6,200.90 by 0110 GMT, after having ended little changed on
Analysts said investors in Australia remained cautious,
despite gains on Wall Street overnight, as the Fed minutes
showed policymakers said a "deterioration" in the U.S. economy
could be amplified by large debt burdens at American companies.
"The positive lead from the Fed meeting minutes did not
spill over to our markets today as investors here remained
cautious, probably focusing on the lack of consensus among the
U.S. policymakers," said James McGlew, executive director of
corporate stockbroking at Argonaut.
Financials, the largest sector in the benchmark,
declined as much as 0.8 percent with all the "Big Four" banks
falling between 0.5 percent to 0.9 percent.
Bank of Queensland was the top percentage loser on
the benchmark, dropping more than 4 percent, after it said its
first-half cash earnings fell 8 percent.
The broader weakness in metal prices put the miners under
pressure, with the metals and mining sub-index shedding
up to 0.8 percent.
China's iron ore futures paused after a seven-session rally,
while zinc touched a two-week low on concerns that Chinese
smelters will ramp up output. Other major base metals - copper,
aluminium and lead - also slipped.
Index heavyweights BHP Group and Rio Tinto
declined 0.4 percent and 0.6 percent respectively.
Healthcare stocks also declined with major sector
players in the benchmark CSL Ltd and Cochlear Ltd
shedding 0.8 percent and 0.2 percent, respectively.
Whitehaven Coal Ltd fell most among energy stocks
after the company reported a 3 percent fall in its March quarter
saleable coal production, and lowered its production guidance
for fiscal 2019.
The gold sub-index, which rose 1.8 percent in the
previous session, dropped 0.8 prices despite a rise in the price
of the yellow metal.
Declining issues outnumbered advancing ones on the benchmark
by a 8-to-5 ratio.
Across the Tasman Sea, New Zealand's benchmark S&P/NZX 50
index advanced 0.6 percent to 9,762.89 and was set to
snap a six-session losing run.
Retirement village operator Summerset Group Holdings Ltd
, the top percentage gainer on the benchmark, put on 2.5
(Reporting by Aby Jose Koilparambil in Bengaluru; Editing by
© 2019 Thomson Reuters. All rights reserved. Reuters content is the intellectual property of Thomson Reuters or its third party content providers. Any copying, republication or redistribution of Reuters content, including by framing or similar means, is expressly prohibited without the prior written consent of Thomson Reuters. Thomson Reuters shall not be liable for any errors or delays in content, or for any actions taken in reliance thereon. "Reuters" and the Reuters Logo are trademarks of Thomson Reuters and its affiliated companies.