Australia shares trim losses after RBA stands pat; NZ down
* Aussie Q4 GDP data due Wednesday
* Mining stocks close 0.8 pct down
* NZ benchmark off record high
(Updates to close)
By Niyati Shetty
March 5 (Reuters) - Australian shares ended weaker on
Tuesday, but trimmed earlier losses, after the country's central
bank signalled a steady policy outlook and China said it would
introduce further measures to shore up its cooling economy.
The S&P/ASX 200 index finished down 0.3 percent, or
18.10 points, at 6,199.30. The benchmark rose 0.4 percent on
The Reserve Bank of Australia (RBA) left its cash rate at
1.5 percent on Tuesday as it remained optimistic about the
economy's outlook, despite acknowledging a slowdown.
Economic growth is expected to have almost stalled in the
last quarter of 2018 as trade shaved more from growth than
expected. Figures on Australia's gross domestic product are due
Mathan Somasundaram, Market Portfolio Strategist at Blue
Ocean Equities, said the RBA's optimistic view about the economy
and China's talk about stimulus have helped the markets recover.
Stocks had retreated in early trade after China set its 2019
economic growth target at 6.0 to 6.5 percent, lower than last
year's goal of 6.5 percent.
Concerns of a slowdown in China, Australia's top raw
material's importer, have weighed on mining stocks.
Mining majors BHP Group Ltd and Rio Tinto Ltd
both lost 0.9 percent.
However, market sentiment slightly improved after China said
it would cut billions of dollars in taxes and boost lending to
small firms in a bid to shore up an economy that is growing at
its slowest pace in almost 30 years.
The financial sub-index was down 0.3 percent at the
end of the session, with the country's No. 3 lender Australia
and New Zealand Banking Group Ltd retreating half a
Energy stocks reversed course to edge up as index
heavyweight Woodside Petroleum advanced 0.3 percent,
while peer Santos Ltd added 1.6 percent.
New Zealand's benchmark S&P/NZX 50 index retreated
from its record high in the last session, falling 0.15 percent
or 13.80 points to finish the session at 9,399.69.
Electricity retailer Meridian Energy Ltd slipped
0.8 percent while telecom firm Spark New Zealand Ltd
declined 1.1 percent.
On the other hand, milk producer Fonterra
rose about 1.2 percent after it appointed Miles Hurell as
permanent chief executive of the co-operative.
(Reporting by Niyati Shetty in Bengaluru, Additional Reporting
by Shriya Ramakrishnan
Editing by Jacqueline Wong)
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