Australia shares track Asian peers lower, commodity stocks weigh

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Australia shares track Asian peers lower, commodity stocks weigh


Australian shares had their worst session in three weeks on Friday, tracking losses in Asian peers, as a worse-than-expected rise in weekly U.S. jobless claims tempered hopes for a quick economic recovery.

The S&P/ASX 200 index fell 1.34 per cent to 6,793.8 points, as weaker oil and gold prices weighed on commodity-linked stocks. The benchmark was down 0.19 per cent for the week.

Asian stocks pulled back from all-time peaks on the back of underwhelming U.S. data and as yields on longer-dated bonds rose.

“The momentum of the global recovery buy-everything trade looks to be flagging in the near term, nudged along by worse than expected U.S. jobless claims data overnight,” said Jeffrey Halley, senior market analyst, Asia Pacific at OANDA.

Energy stocks saw their worst session in 4-1/2 months, slumping 3.6 per cent as oil prices dropped.

Woodside Petroleum shed 5.3 per cent, its worst day in eight months, while peer Santos gave up 3.4 per cent.

Miners had their worst day in three weeks. Still, the sub-index ended the week 2.2 per cent higher, helped by a slew of upbeat earnings and forecasts from heavyweights Rio Tinto , BHP and Fortescue.

Gold prices sank to a seven-month low as rising U.S. Treasury yields eroded the bullion’s appeal, driving gold stocks 1.1 per cent lower.

Northern Star Resources fell 2.1 per cent to hit its lowest in over 10-1/2 months, while Newcrest Mining lost 0.5 per cent.

Financials also fielded losses, with three of the “Big Four” banks closing in the red.

Bucking the trend, technology stocks inched higher after Morgan Stanley bumped up sector heavyweight Afterpay’s price target by 25 per cent.

New Zealand’s benchmark S&P/NZX 50 index closed 0.67 per cent lower at 12,548.63 points, marking its fourth consecutive week of losses. Retirement village operator Ryman Healthcare was the top loser on the benchmark.





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