Australian shares knocked by trade worries, financial sector woes; NZ bounce
* Sentiment hampered by ongoing trade war worries
* Westpac accepts fine for wrongly processing home loans
* NZ snaps 3 session losing run
(Updates to close)
By Nikhil Nainan
Sept 4 (Reuters) - Australian shares fell on Tuesday, as
reports of fresh investigations into financial institutions kept
investors on edge, while overall sentiment was dampened by the
threat of a further escalation in the Sino-U.S. trade dispute.
The S&P/ASX 200 index dropped 0.3 percent to 6,293.1
at the close of trade, coming off the back of a tepid session on
Financial stocks came under pressure on indications that the
country's superannuation regulator is opening up fresh
investigations into the sector, following revelations of
widespread wrongdoings in a Royal Commission inquiry, which also
sharply criticised regulators. (https://bit.ly/2MLESi7)
Earlier on Tuesday, the Australian Securities and
Investments Commission, the nation's corporate regulator, said
Westpac Banking Corp had agreed to pay a A$35 million
($25 million) fine after admitting to wrongly assessing people's
ability to repay mortgages.
The fine comes as the powerful public inquiry has aired
allegations of widespread misconduct, including charging
customers fees for no service, irresponsible lending and
deception of regulators. Initial findings by the Royal
Commission is expected to be submitted to the government by the
end of September.
Markets hardly budged to the widely expected decision by the
Reserve Bank of Australia to keep its key interest rate at an
all-time low of 1.50 percent, and a change seems no nearer even
as commercial banks nudge up their home loan rates to protect
Overall, market sentiment was dulled by festering concerns
over the fallout from a global trade war, with manufacturing
activity data in Asia and Europe showing weak orders in a sign
that the U.S.-led trade frictions is starting to drag on world
U.S. President Donald Trump has said he is ready to
implement new tariffs on Chinese imports as soon as a public
comment period on the plan ends on Thursday.
Energy stocks were the biggest drags, after Whitehaven Coal
slid 7.6 percent, with the stock trading ex-dividend.
On the positive ledger, Ausdrill gained 9.2 percent
after it released an independent report that gave the go-ahead
for its proposed acquisition of underground hard-rock mining
New Zealand's benchmark S&P/NZX 50 index ended a
three session losing run, rising 0.4 percent to 9,292.15.
Gains from Spark New Zealand and Chorus Ltd
helped support the index. New Zealand listed shares of
ANZ and Westpac fell 1.3 percent and 0.9
(Reporting by Nikhil Kurian Nainan in Bengaluru
Editing by Shri Navaratnam)
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