Australian shares lower on fresh global trade, growth concerns

(Corrects third bullet & paragraph 16 to say NZ benchmark fell for sixth straight session, not fifth)

* Mining giants BHP, Fortescue decline

* Gold stocks advance on higher prices

* NZ falls for 6th straight session

By Aby Jose Koilparambil

April 10 (Reuters) - Australian shares tracked their Wall Street counterparts lower on Wednesday, on new global growth worries and fresh trade tensions between the United States and the European Union.

The S&P/ASX 200 index dropped 0.2 percent to 6,212.60 by 0037 GMT, having ended little changed on Tuesday.

U.S. President Donald Trump said he would impose tariffs on $11 billion of European goods, raising tensions over aircraft subsidies that threaten to morph into a wider trade war.

Meanwhile, worries about global growth intensified after the International Monetary Fund (IMF) cut its forecast for world economic growth this year, saying the global economy is slowing more than expected.

The IMF outlook report said Australia's gross domestic product growth would cool to 2.1 percent in 2019 from 2.8 percent last year.

"The lead from North America is a small negative this morning. The previous market leaders, including BHP and Fortescue are seeing a little bit of profit-taking," said Damian Rooney, director of equity sales at Argonaut.

"With the U.S.-EU tariff issue and the IMF cut coming into the picture, the global and macro factors are affecting the market," added Rooney.

The metals and mining sub-index shed up to 0.7 percent with index heavyweight BHP Group and Fortescue Metals Group dropping 1.2 percent and 1.7 percent, respectively.

Financials stocks, the largest sector in the benchmark, were little changed.

Energy firms felt the heat as oil prices slipped from five-month highs after Russia hinted a possible easing of its production-cutting deal with OPEC.

Australia's biggest casino firm Crown Resorts fell up to 10.8 percent after the World No.2 casino operator Wynn Resorts said it ended talks to buy the Melbourne-based company.

Crown Resorts was the biggest loser on the benchmark in percentage terms, posting its biggest intraday percentage loss since October 2016.

In a bright spot, gold stocks shone with the sub-index advancing 1.7 percent on higher prices for the yellow metal.

Gold rose to its highest in more than a week as the dollar and equities weakened after the IMF cut its growth forecast, with increased central bank buying lending further support.

Big gold firms, including Newcrest Mining, Evolution Mining and St Barbara Ltd, added between 1.5 percent and 2.7 percent.

Across the Tasman Sea, New Zealand's benchmark S&P/NZX 50 index extended losses for a sixth consecutive session, falling 0.6 percent to 9,728.86.

Electricity and energy retailer Trustpower Ltd and retirement village operator Ryman Healthcare Ltd were among the top percentage losers on the benchmark, both falling about 2 percent.

(Reporting by Aby Jose Koilparambil in Bengaluru; Editing by Sam Holmes)

First Published: 2019-04-10 03:17:23
Updated 2019-04-10 03:31:01

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