Australian shares lower as trade worries weigh; NZ up
* Manufacturing activity down as trade tensions hurt output
* Reports of fresh probes dog financial sector
* NZ shares likely to snap 3 sessions of losses
By Nikhil Nainan
Sept 4 (Reuters) - Australian shares dropped on Tuesday on
festering concerns over escalating global trade frictions, while
financial stocks came under renewed pressure over reports of
fresh investigations into the sector.
The S&P/ASX 200 index fell 0.3 percent, or 16.2
points to 6,294.7 by 0200 GMT. The benchmark edged lower on
Data showed manufacturing activity in China grew at the
slowest pace in more than a year in August, compounding fears
that the intensifying U.S.-led trade war could derail growth,
not just in China, but globally.
With Wall Street closed for a labour day holiday, Damian
Rooney, director of equity sales at Argonaut said "the concerns
of the trade tariffs (will) continue to unnerve equity markets."
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, which would be a
major escalation after Washington already applied tariffs on $50
billion of exports from China.
Financial stocks fell nearly 1 percent, on
indications that the country's superannuation regulator is
opening up fresh investigations into financial stocks, following
revelations of widespread wrongdoings in a Royal Commission
The Royal Commission is expected to submit an initial report
to the government by the end of September but the probe has
already rattled financial investors and led to senior management
shake-up and CEO resignations.
"The markets do not like uncertainty and volumes remain
fairly thin," Rooney said.
The country's Big Four banks were in the red, with Australia
and New Zealand Banking and Westpac Banking
down as much as 1.4 percent each. Commonwealth Bank of Australia
, which has faced strong criticism from the inquiry, was
down 0.6 percent.
Markets aren't expecting any surprises from the Reserve Bank
of Australia, which is widely expected to hold its key interest
rate at a record-low 1.50 percent for the 23rd straight policy
meeting later in the day.
The Energy sector was the biggest drag on the index, with
Whitehaven Coal leading the losses, sliding 8 percent,
as the stock trades ex-dividend.
On the positive ledger, Evolution Mining climbed
over 4 percent after it said it expects to produce over 700,000
ounces of gold for the next three years at least.
New Zealand's benchmark S&P/NZX 50 index rose 0.2
percent to 9,279.50, and looks set to snap three straight
sessions of losses.
Spark New Zealand and Air New Zealand
supported the gains, up 1.5 percent and 1.2 percent,
respectively, though losses form Fisher & Paykel Healthcare
kept advances in check.
For more individual stocks activity click on
(Reporting by Nikhil Kurian Nainan, additional reporting by
Karthika Suresh Namboothiri in Bengaluru
Editing by Shri Navaratnam)
© 2018 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.